According to a new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), extensive scientific research on the environmental factors associated with breast cancer has found a possible connection between increased risk for the disease and exposures to benzene, 1,3-butadiene, and ethylene oxide. These chemicals are found in workplaces, gasoline fumes, vehicle exhaust and tobacco smoke. Further, numerous studies have shown that benzene is a common airborne contaminant in fire smoke, during overhaul and it occurs in concentrations that are considered deleterious in the context of chronic exposures to fire fighters.
The report could not conclude whether bisphenol A (BPA), pesticides, ingredients in cosmetics, dietary supplements and other chemicals of concern have an impact on breast cancer risk. The report also suggests a need for more research on the link between breast cancer and overnight shift work; chemicals that mutate genes, alter gene expression, or affect hormones; and gene-environment interactions.