National Breast Cancer Coalition

Truth #17


There are many unproven
and uncertain risk factors for breast cancer
cited in the media and among the public.

There is no evidence that avoiding cosmetics or household cleaning products will have any impact on an individual’s risk of developing breast cancer, though this is often promoted among groups and in the media. There is also no evidence that avoiding the use of plastic water bottles or underarm anti-perspirants will lower the risk of breast cancer.

Most of these claims about avoiding exposures and decreasing breast cancer risk are based on research in laboratory animals, and have not been supported from data in human studies. For example, we have some clues from laboratory experiments on animals that certain chemicals found in some plastics (for example, bisphenol A (BPA)) might increase breast cancer risk, but we do not know if these clues tell us anything about human beings. More research in humans is needed to better define the possible health effects of these and similar substances. Of course, it is important to limit exposure to possible carcinogens whenever possible, while recognizing the limits of this approach in actually preventing breast cancer among individuals.