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BFRs can Increase the Risk of Breast Cancer:

  • Uncategorized
  • Jul 27, 2021

Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) are found in furniture, electronics and kitchen utensils to hinder the spread of flames in the event of a fire. However, it has been shown that these molecules can also lead to early development of the mammary glands, which is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. This study on the sensitive subject was performed by Professor Isabelle Plante, of the Institution National De La Recherche Scientifique (INRS), who is also the co-director of the Intersectoral center for Endocrine Disruption Analysis and environmental toxicologist. It also appeared on the cover of the February issue of the journal, Toxicological Sciences. Some of the flame retardants are considered as endocrine disruptors, that is, they interfere with the female hormonal system. Since they are not directly connected to the material in which they are incorporated, the molecules thus, easily escape. They are then found in house dust, the air, and can cause problems for the mammary glands, as their development is strongly regulated by hormones. BFRs pose a significant risk to women, especially in their sensitive phases, from intrauterine life to puberty and during pregnancy. , Endocrine disruptors like BFRs can mimic hormones and cause cells to respond inappropriately.

In their experiments, the research team exposed female rodents to a mixture of BFR similar to that found in house dust before mating, during pregnancy and lactation. The biologists observed the effects on the offspring of rats in two stages of development, and in pre-pubertal. The team saw the early development of the mammary glands. In pubescent rats, the results published in 2017 and 2019 showed similar after effects of a dysregulation of communication between cells. All of these effects are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Professor noted that the peak levels of human exposure to BFRs were observed in the early 2000s which increased the risk of breast cancer.  That is why the team is currently studying endocrine disruptors associated with breast cancer predisposition, funded by the Breast Cancer Foundation and the Cancer Research Society. In all three studies, most of the effects were seen when subjects were exposed to the lowest dose of the powder rather than the highest dose. This observation raises questions about the current legislation on endocrine disruptors. In order to assess the safe dose, experts recommend giving an increasing dose to identify the effects.