SECTIONS
Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Four cancers and endocrine-targeting pollutants

IN this week’s Breakthroughs, let me share with you information I unearthed from the global research literature, which identified environmental pollutants referred to as “endocrine disruptors,” substances that cause problems in the endocrine system and lead to endocrine-related cancers in the breast, prostate, testis and thyroid.

In doing this, five researchers (Marta Benedetti, Amerigo Zona, Eleonora Beccaloni, Mario Carere and Pietro Comba) from the Department of Environment and Health and Instituto Superiore di Sanita in Rome, Italy pooled together a list of environmental pollutants that five monitoring groups consider to be cancer-causing (carcinogenic).

These groups are the International Agency for the Research on Cancer (IARC), the World Health Organization / United Nations Environment Program (WHO/UNEP), the European Commission (EC), the European Environmental Agency (EEA) and The Endocrine Society (TES). The report was published at the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2017.

For breast cancer, there are seven environmental substances that are confirmed carcinogenic: polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) [IARC and WHO/UNEP], dioxins [WHO/UNEP and TES], solvents [WHO/UNEP and EC], ethylene oxide [IARC], furans [WHO/UNEP], cadmium, and estrogen endocrine disruptors (that is, all environmental pollutants that disrupt endocrine function).

For prostate cancer, there are four substances: arsenic [IARC, WHO/UNEP and EC]; cadmium [IARC, WHO/UNEP and EC]; PCB [WHO/UNEP, EC and TES]; and pesticides [WHO/UNEP, EC and EEA].

The IARC made a specific indication that the rubber production industry is a risk to prostate cancer, while the TES identified farming as such.

For testicular cancer, there are seven: pesticides, particularly dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) [WHO/UNEP and EC] and dichorodiphenlydichloroethylene (DDE) [EEA]; PCB [EC, EEA, and TES], prenatal exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POP) [WHO/UNEP]; fungicides [WHO/UNEP]; polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) [WHO/UNEP]; arsenic [TES]; and cadmium [TES]. IARC did not identify any.

Finally, for thyroid cancer, there are four: pesticides [WHO/UNEP and EC]; PCB [EC and EEA]; 2, 3, 7, 8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) [WHO/UNEP]; and solvents [EC]. The IARC and TES had not identified any.

This means that you have to monitor your workplace and neighborhood for the presence of these pollutants. Take note that even in low doses, these substances have compounding effect towards cancer generation.
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