‘Cleaning products might cause breast cancer’

Breast-CancerA recent study has established a link between the deadly breast cancer and household cleaning products used frequently. But, the study has also drawn criticism from many places, especially the cleaning industry.

Researcher Julia Brody, PhD, executive director of the Silent Spring Institute in Newton, Mass., who led the study, said that the most dangerous were air fresheners and products to control mold and mildew.

Brody said, "Many laboratory studies led us to be concerned about particular compounds in cleaning products and air fresheners."

But there were several others who said that study was not strong enough to prove a point. Michael Thun, MD, vice president emeritus of epidemiology for the American Cancer Society, said, ''What this study really shows is, when a study relies on people's memory of their exposure, and people are concerned about that exposure, you don't get reliable answers."

About 787 women were asked about their past use of cleaning products. These women had cancer and 721 women who did not have cancer were also asked about their use of the products.

Brody added, ''We found links to breast cancer for combined cleaning products used, many different products taken together, and air fresheners and mold and mildew control products."

She said that looking at all cleaning products combined provided the strongest link. The chances of getting breast cancer get doubled by combined cleaning product use.

While defending her study Brody said, "This is a first look and there are cautions about interpreting it."