10 Ways to Nix Breast Cancer Chemicals Now!

woman self-examining her breasts for breast cancerFor years now I’ve railed against the pinkification of October, when companies that formulate their products with ingredients linked to breast cancer have the audacity to slap pink ribbons on them in the name of breast cancer research. This year, I’ve got even more reason to rail: Harvard researchers recently released information on 17 chemicals that can cause breast cancer—and most of them are in products we use every day.

Breast cancer chemicals are in everyday products—statistically, 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer. Share this article with 8 women and let’s work together to reduce our risks!

But before we get to those chemicals, let’s look at the facts:

Breast cancer is now the leading cause of death in women from their late 30s to early 50s.

The American Cancer Society estimates the global economic costs of breast cancer at $88 billion per year—treatment costs $17 billion per year in the United States alone.

One in eight American women—a full 12%—will get invasive breast cancer in her lifetime, and one in 36 will die from the disease.

Are you scared? Because I certainly am. We need to lower our exposures to these breast cancer chemicals, stat! Take a look at the list below, and tell me what’s out—and what might be challenging to you. Then take a minute to forward this article to eight women you know. Let’s work together to reduce our risks!

Harvard researchers found:

1. Eight toxic chemicals linked to breast cancer are in CIGARETTE SMOKE. Are you sensing a theme, here? If you want to avoid breast cancer, please don’t smoke, ever—or ever again.

2. CAR EXHAUST contains four carcinogenic chemicals. If you live near a busy intersection or freeway, clean indoor air with filters and amazingly effective and powerful houseplants.

3. GASOLINE FUMES linked to breast cancer can be limited by auto-filling your tank while sitting in the car with windows closed; when you’re waiting in your car, shut off the engine, rather than idling.

4. FRIED FOODS and CHARRED FOODS are both linked to breast cancer, so make the fryer and barbeque an occasional treat. 

5. Try to bring your own reusable container when you’re taking out; food that’s stored in polystyrene—aka STYROFOAM—can deliver carcinogenic styrene to your body.

6. NON-STICK PANS, FURNITURE, RUGS and CLOTHES may be convenient, but they are also now linked to breast cancer. Look for stainless or ceramic-coated pans, and avoid “stain-guard” on fabrics and furnishings. 

7. HAIR SPRAY, SPOT REMOVER and DRY CLEANING FLUID can contain halogenated solvents, which are carcinogenic. Dry clean sparingly—steam clean if possible—and choose pump-style natural hair spray.

8. HAIR DYES made in Asia can contain dangerous aromatic amines linked to breast cancer; look for more natural hair dyes made in Europe, which typically contain the least amount of toxic chemicals.

9. PAINTS can include carcinogenic benzene; ask for no-VOC paints and make sure to have adequate ventilation if you’re redecorating.

10. Breast cancer is yet another reason that flame retardants in FOAM PRODUCTS are dangerous. With California legislation changing, toxic chemical flame retardants may soon be a thing of the past; meanwhile, avoid the TB 117 label on furniture and foam-filled products, which indicates the presence of flame retardants.



  1. Sarah Fields says

    What about parabens?? I have read recently that they are found in 99% of breast cancer tissue samples and they exist in practically every personal care product imaginable!

  2. Why doesn’t anyone talk about the birth control pills problem? Birth control pills have been classified a Group One (most carcinogenic) carcinogen by the World Health Organization. Yet doctors continue to prescribe them.
    When is someone going to put real health over their personal profit or agenda?

    • Rachel Sarnoff says

      Hmm, I haven’t seen that information will have to check that out. Thanks Arline! This post is really just focused on the chemicals identified by the Harvard study, however.


  1. […] path in 2008. Because no one wants to put that crap next to your lymph nodes, especially now that breast cancer is the leading cause of death for women in their late 30s to early 50s — roughly the ages that I’ve been since I began writing as Mommy […]

  2. […] to avoid pinkwashing in food and beauty products, and earlier this year, I shared information on Harvard University study that identified the 17 breast-cancer causing chemicals in products we use every […]

  3. […] know that breast cancer is now the leading cause of death for women in their late 30s to early 50s, and that one in eight American women–that’s 12% of […]

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