How Environmental Toxins Can Influence Female Cancers
Unfortunately, the very nature of a woman's biology makes her more susceptible to environmental toxins--and more and more often environmental toxins are seemingly everywhere we turn. One theory as to why these toxins may be more harmful to women is because women have as much as ten percent higher body fat than men so they store more fat-soluble toxic materials which have been linked to hormone disruption and breast cancer in particular.
Even more alarming is the fact that women transfer the harmful toxins in their bodies to their children in utero and through breast milk, potentially altering normal fetal development and childhood growth. It is estimated that in the United States alone, the health care costs of women as a result of environmental toxins is as high as $12.2 billion dollars, and includes such health issues as breast cancer, birth defects, autoimmune diseases, infertility and ovarian and cervical cancers.
Additionally, many lower-income women tend to work as manicurists, factory workers or housecleaners-all occupations which require handling potentially dangerous chemicals. Factory workers and housecleaners not only have to worry about chemical products, but in some cases, asbestos and other environmental toxins. These can be high risk jobs because of these factors and workers in the fields should be extra cautious.
How Cleaning Your Home Can Be Harmful to Your Health
Even in our age of equality between the sexes, women still typically do the majority of the heavy housecleaning tasks-and use the heavy duty chemicals. One study estimates that simply by replacing all chemicals currently used to clean homes with such natural solutions as vinegar and baking soda, exposure to such toxins could be reduced by up to 85%, allowing women in particular to experience fewer headaches, dizziness and skin irritations on the mild end, and less cancer risk on the other end. Remember that just because you can buy a product at your local grocery store does not necessarily mean it is safe to breathe or to touch your skin.
Estrogen Dominance and Health Issues
While estrogen dominance can either begin early in a woman's menstrual history, or develop later in life, it is a serious issue. Young women who suffer from estrogen dominance will have excessively painful and difficult periods, and older women may cease to ovulate, causing significant fertility issues. Estrogen dominance can cause weight gain, fibrocystic disease, PMS, menstrual disturbances, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts and breast cancer.
Certain lifestyle choices can contribute to estrogen dominance, as can absorbing toxins from our environment. Chemicals and harmful substances in our foods allow estrogen to build up in the system, impairing the function of the liver. Xenoestrogens come from PCBs, pesticides and DDT which are very present in our environment. These xenoestrogens not only cause men's sperm quality to decline, but can lead to an epidemic of female cancers and diseases. Eating organic fruits, vegetables, dairy and meats can lower your exposure to harmful xenoestrogens, as can avoiding microwaving foods in plastic containers, so limit your exposure as much as possible.
The Increase of Female Cancers
All forms of cancer are on the rise, and a study done by Cambridge University predicts that by the year 2018, every person will have a 50% chance of getting cancer. The link between progesterone and environmental toxins has produced breast cancer rates that have nearly tripled in the past 60 years. There are rising concerns which show that chemicals which mimic estrogen can cause cancer in the tissue which is sensitive to hormones, and even cause breast cancer cells to rapidly multiply.
Nonylphenol, a chemical environmental toxin widely used in industrial detergents, toiletries, plastics, paints and agriculture has also been shown to cause estrogen-related cancers to grow rapidly. Some 6% of cancer is cervical, and this form of cancer has increases at a 3% rate every year since 1986 in women below the age of 50. Currently, the only known cause of endometrial cancer is estrogen which is left unopposed by progesterone. It is important for all women to educate themselves about the toxic chemicals in our environment, then do their best to avoid as many of them as possible.