How many breast cancer deaths are caused by environmental pollutants? To some extent, scientists will never have “definitive” answers, says Julia Brody of Silent Spring Institute, an advocacy group that studies breast cancer and the environment.
Other medical leaders, such as the President’s Cancer Panel and the Endocrine Society, follow the “precautionary principle,” arguing that it makes sense to reduce exposures to chemicals that appear harmful. In a May report, the cancer panel urged the country to act to protect people from “grievous harm” caused by toxins. And in a 2009 report, the Endocrine Society warned that hormone-disrupting chemicals in consumer products may contribute to cancer, infertility and other conditions.