That destructive smog that rises from our nations factories not only compromises the quality of our atmosphere, but also wreaks havoc on our health. Both long and short-term impacts of air pollution exposure have been reported. Among these include such things as upper respiratory infections, allergic reactions, bronchitis, heart disease, damage to nerves, kidneys and liver. What’s more, research is showing that air pollution could be the cause of DNA alternations in women, thereby increasing breast cancer risk.
Air Pollution When Born
Scientists at the University of Buffalo fear that this DNA alteration may be responsible for premenopausal breast cancer. Study results indicated that women with breast cancer who resided in areas with elevated toxic air pollution had a greater chance of having alterations in their tumor DNA than women who had not been exposed.
Reported from the University of Buffalo, “the findings indicated that higher air pollution exposure at birth may alter DNA methylation, which may increase levels of E-cadherin, a protein important to the adhesion of cells, a function that plays an essential role in maintaining a stable cellular environment and assuring healthy tissues.”
When information from the Western New York Exposures and Breast Cancer study was reviewed, a number of interesting links were found. Two groups of women participated in the study, one group who had recently been diagnosed with caner and one group who was healthy. Both groups of participants had lived in the same two counties between 1996 and 2001.
Three key times in the women’s lives were investigated, including residence at the time of birth, time of menstruation, and time of the birth of their first child.
“Research also demonstrated that women who were exposed to increased levels of air pollution at the time they birthed their first child had a greater likelihood of having alterations in a gene known at p16, than unexposed women. The p16 gene is responsible for tumor suppression.”
Interestingly, outdoor pollution may not be the primary culprit in all cases. Even with all of the outside air pollution, it is the indoor air pollution that is causing roughly 50% of illnesses globally, including breast cancer. Things such as carpets, detergents, dust, disinfectants, asbestos, paint, air fresheners, and mites are all contributing to the development of disease. It is important to be aware of both outdoor and indoor pollution.
More Research Necessary
These research findings have sparked a desire for further studies into the matters of exposure to air pollution and breast cancer risk.