National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences   —  National Institutes of Health   —  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Sister Study


Dioxin & Breast Cancer

Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans ("dioxins") are persistent organic pollutants frequently produced during the combustion of chlorinated organic compounds. Some are known to be carcinogenic. Though dioxin levels have declined following their regulation in the 1990s, few studies have evaluated whether dioxin may be associated with breast cancer risk. We used publicly available data on industrial emissions at facilities located near Sister Study participant's homes to estimate participants' dioxin exposure levels. We then evaluated associations between estimated dioxin exposure and breast cancer risk. We found that long-term exposure to airborne dioxin emissions within 3 km of participants' residences was associated with increased breast cancer risk. This association was strongest for emissions from municipal solid waste facilities. These findings indicate that living in proximity to industrial emissions facilities may be linked to higher breast cancer rates.

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Residential proximity to dioxin emissions and risk of breast cancer in the sister study cohort. exit disclaimer

image of industrial pollution

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