Environmental Chemicals and Breast Cancer: What Do We Know? What Can We Do?, a Region 6 Spotlight Speaker Webinar
Class Experience Level
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

This class is no longer accepting registrations

Two thirds of Americans think that cancers – including breast cancers -- are mostly due to inherited genes. The truth is that less than a third of breast cancer risk is due to inherited genes, according to research estimates. Misconceptions stand in the way of actions to prevent the disease. This webinar will: 

(1) review the science on how everyday chemical exposures can influence breast cancer risk.

(2) identify resources to help people reduce their exposures by taking simple actions as individuals and community members.

(3) show how misleading information, including from sources that people expect to be reliable, can play into industry’s dismissive strategies, echoing the early campaigns against tobacco control. 

Nearly 1,000 chemicals have been found in laboratory studies to alter key biological pathways to breast cancer. For instance, estrogen and progesterone are known to increase breast cancer risk, and common chemicals—including drinking water pollutants and certain ingredients in pesticides, personal care products, cleaners, and other common products—can influence these hormones in ways that could lead to cancer. Exposure studies reveal patterns of environmental injustice, including higher exposures among Black women to harmful ingredients in hair and skin products. Digital resources like the Detox Me and Clearya smartphone apps can help consumers make safer choices. Addressing the preventable causes of breast cancer—which is the most diagnosed cancer worldwide and with incidence rates rising in the U.S. among women under 50—is an urgent public health issue. 

Guest Speaker: Julia Brody, Ph.D., Silent Spring Institute 

Dr. Julia Brody is a nationally recognized expert on environmental chemicals and breast cancer, as well as a leader in community-based research and public engagement in science. Recently, she was part of a team that used US EPA data to identify 900 chemicals, many of them in consumer products and the environment, that have characteristics linked to breast cancer. In addition, she is the author of several comprehensive reviews of epidemiological studies on environmental chemicals and breast cancer. Her current research focuses on communicating with people about their own chemical exposures and strategies to reduce exposures through individual choices and as community members and voters. She is also studying what Americans know about endocrine disruptors—as part of the emerging field of environmental health literacy. Her research includes studies across the U.S. in Massachusetts, California, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere, supported by the National Institutes of Health, the California Breast Cancer Research Program, and the National Science Foundation. Dr. Brody joined Silent Spring Institute as executive director in 1996, shortly after its founding, and led the organization for 28 years, transforming Silent Spring into a leading scientific authority on environmental chemicals and women's health. 

  1. Review the science on how everyday chemical exposures can influence breast cancer risk.
  2. Identify resources to help people reduce their exposures by taking simple actions as individuals and community members.

This webinar aligns with NNLM's Environmental Determinants of Health initiative.

Class Recording

Class Details

Date(s): April 17, 2024
Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDT
Platform: Zoom
CE Credits: 1.00
CE Categories: CHES, MLA, CHIS Level 1, CHIS Level 2
Class Experience Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
This class is sponsored by Region 6.
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Class Contacts

Host/Instructor: Nora Barnett
Technical Assistance: Miles Dietz-Castel

Can't join us live?

Register anyway and you'll receive the recording after the event.