|Pesticides. Plastics. Cosmetics. Deodorants.
Cookware. Stain-resistant furniture. Computers.
What do all these seemingly unrelated items have in common?
At one time or another, all have been suspected of increasing the risk of breast cancer.
The important point to recognize is that most researchers agree that there are no solidly proven links between these -- or other similar environmental factors -- and the risk of breast cancer.
The troubling aspect of this, however, is that many believe it's just a matter of time before we connect the scientific dots and see a picture of increased risk.
A compilation of epidemiological studies, cell culture studies, and animal data that are all consistent and many believe are coming together to show that some of what women are exposed to every day may be increasing their risk of breast cancer.
That while there may be no smoking gun that implicates any one area of concern, or even one chemical, the evidence is starting to mount indicating that steady, personal exposure to low levels of lots of different chemicals does matter.
Finally people are starting to look at interactions -- and the fact that exposure to low doses of lots of different chemicals may yield a result similar to a high-dose exposure to one chemical.
And just how many chemicals are we exposed to on regular basis? More than you might imagine.
Reports that an ongoing monitoring project which regularly tests blood, cord blood, urine, and breast milk from 72 adults has so far identified the presence of 455 chemicals that should not be in the body.
If you had one or two you would say not a big deal. But you can't say that the whole 455 aren't doing something harmful to the body. That just doesn't seem plausible.
A recent EWG survey of some 2,300 Americans found that the average adult is exposed to 126 chemicals every day -- just in their personal care product use alone.
One in every 13 women is exposed to a known or a probable human carcinogen every day, with one in every 24 women -- or 4.3 million total -- exposed to personal care ingredients that are known or probable reproductive and developmental toxins.
But does this mean there is a direct environmental route from chemical exposure to breast cancer?
Is there a direct connection we can make between the use of these products and breast cancer? There are strong scientific suspicions that some of the chemicals found in the environment, including those used in cosmetics and other personal care items, might increase the risk, especially if there is heavy exposures before the age of 25.