[Pharmwaste] Fish from polluted rivers 'can trigger breast cancer' - article

Tenace, Laurie Laurie.Tenace at dep.state.fl.us
Thu Nov 8 12:49:25 EST 2007

Fish from polluted rivers 'can trigger breast cancer'
By DAVID DERBYSHIRE - More by this author »

Eating fish caught from rivers polluted with "gender bender" chemicals could
increase the risk of breast cancer, researchers said yesterday. 

Their study found that breast cancer cells multiply when exposed to fish
contaminated with the synthetic female hormone oestrogen. 

It raises new fears about the link between pollution and cancer, and the
effects of pouring treated sewage into rivers. 

Past studies have shown that the high levels of synthetic hormones used in
toiletries and the contraceptive Pill can cause male fish to change sex and
grow female sexual organs. 

For the new study researchers from the University of Pittsburgh caught
catfish in the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, which are heavily polluted. 

Tests on the fish showed they contained high levels of synthetic hormones,
the team told the American Public Health Association in Washington. 

When extracts of the catfish were exposed to breast cancer cells in a petri
dish oestrogenreceptive cancer cells multiplied. 

If the same effects occurred in humans the chemicals would trigger the growth
of cancers. 

Dr Conrad Volz, who led the study, said: These findings have significant
public health implications, since we drink water from the rivers where the
fish were caught. 

"Additionally, the consumption of river-caught fish, especially by
semi-subsistence anglers, may increase their risk." 

Synthetic oestrogen is found in a host of products - including the Pill,
paint, pesticides, plastics and food packaging. 

Studies have shown that around a third of fish in Britain's lowland rivers
are affected by gender bending chemicals. 

Last year Dr Andreas Kortenkamp from London University warned that the
chemicals could be implicated in rising breast cancer rates. 

The Food Standards Agency said it had no information on the risks of
consuming river fish contaminated with oestrogens. 

Laurie J. Tenace
Environmental Specialist
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
2600 Blair Stone Road, MS 4555
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2400
PH: (850) 245-8759
FAX: (850) 245-8811
Laurie.Tenace at dep.state.fl.us 

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