New Study Identifies 921 Breast Cancer-Relevant Chemicals found in everyday products

Article Author: Amelia Talluri, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Major, Class of 2025, Science Coordinator

Currently, 86,000 chemicals are used in industry, with chemists constantly developing new ones. Chemicals are present in our daily lives, from the packaging of the food we eat to our self-care products, but do we understand all of the effects they may have on human health? As more chemicals enter the environment, the products we use, and the food we eat, our exposure to different chemicals increases and potentially, those effects. 

One of those health effects, breast cancer, is now the most frequently diagnosed form of cancer in women and the second most commonly occurring cancer. While the statistics themselves are overwhelming, it is most concerning that the numbers have been rising, a trend that cannot be explained by genetics. 

In January of 2024, Dr. Jennifer Kay, among other researchers at Silent Spring Institute, published a paper identifying 921 total breast cancer-relevant chemicals. Specifically, 279 were rodent mammary carcinogens (MCs) and 642 chemicals stimulate estrogen or progesterone signaling. While MCs are chemicals that directly cause the formation of a tumor, other chemicals can stimulate hormone signaling, inducing the formation of a tumor. Silent Spring Institute researchers applied a ten Key Characteristics (KCs) framework which they used to test and recognize harmful chemicals. All of the KCs already have established links to increased risk of breast cancer. The most notable KC is increases in estrogen and progesterone, which are primary reproductive hormones. 

Overall, 90% of the chemicals that were tested are commonly found in our daily environment, including food and drink products, pesticides, medications, and work and school areas. The purpose of this study is to help the EPA with a new method to test chemicals for breast cancer relevance using a KC approach to ultimately reduce exposure to potential health harm. It is also a calling to the public that there are many tested chemicals in our regular environment that can induce breast cancer. 

So what can we do? We can choose to take care of ourselves and our loved ones by eating organic foods in safer packaging and being mindful of the products we expose ourselves to throughout our daily lives. At Protect Our Breasts, we support individuals by providing safer options and considerations when making day-to-day choices. Choosing USDA Organic, wearing GOTS-certified clothing, and using chemically safer products are ways we can protect ourselves from breast cancer and other diseases. Follow our organization to keep up with the latest science news and tips you use for yourself and spread them to your loved ones.


Kay, J. E., Brody, J. G., Schwarzman, M., & Rudel, R. A. (2024). Application of the Key Characteristics Framework to Identify Potential Breast Carcinogens Using Publicly Available in Vivo, in Vitro, and in Silico Data. Environmental Health Perspectives, 132(1), 017002.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is the author’s opinion. Our authors are not scientists. We are not providing medical advice, but simply sharing publicly available information. When we reference data and databases, we do so with the caveat that most are only as good as the data they are based on. While POB strives to make the information as timely and accurate as possible, we make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the completeness, or adequacy of the contents of any site that is shared, and expressly disclaims liability for errors and omissions in the contents of these sites. POB goes to great lengths to avoid declaring shared products as “safe” as there is no legal definition of the word “safe” at this time.

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