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The World Health Organisation says that breast cancer is the top cancer in women both in the developed as well as in the developing world and case are increasing more in developing countries. This may be due to changes in lifestyle and increase in urbanisation of places. Unfortunately, most cases are detected late and this leads to poor outcome. If detected early most types of breast cancers can be cured with the right and consistent treatment. This cancer may be hereditary though environmental factor may also play a role to a certain extent. One 2019 study by scientists from the National Institutes of Health had said that the use of hair dye can significantly increase the risk of this type of cancer. This was published in the International Journal of Cancer. Now another study says that exposure to brominated flame retardants (BFRs) found in furniture, electronics, and kitchenware may also increase your risk of this disease.
Brominated flame retardants slow the spread of flames in the event of a fire. But researchers from the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) saw that these molecules may trigger early mammary gland development. This is directly linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. The journal Toxicological Sciences published this study.
Part of the flame retardants are considered to be endocrine disruptors. This means that they interfere with the hormonal system. Since they are not directly bound to the material in which they are added, the molecules are able to escape easily. They are then found in house dust, air and food. This exposure can cause problems for mammary glands because their development is highly regulated by hormones. According to researchers, these flame retardants pose a significant risk to a woman, particularly during sensitive periods, from intrauterine life to puberty and during pregnancy. These can mimic hormones and cause cells to respond inappropriately.
For the purpose of their study, researchers exposed female rodents to a mixture of BFRs, similar to that found in house dust, prior to mating, during gestation and during lactation. Biologists then observed the effects on the offspring at two stages of development and on the mothers. They saw that in pre-pubertal rats, there was early development of mammary glands. In pubescent rats, there was a deregulation of communication between cells. These effects are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
(With inputs from IANS)
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