Metalloestrogens: A New Class Of Cancer Causing Estrogens

Metals like aluminum have been linked to breast cancer for some time, but new research is confirming the existence of an entirely new class of cancer-causing estrogens known as "metalloestrogens," and which are in thousands of consumer products -- some which are even used in supplements and foods as "nutrients"...

A new study published in journal Cancer Research reveals that dietary cadmium exposure increases the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, confirming earlier research that a broad range of metals we are now being increasingly exposed to represent an emerging class of metalloestrogens with the potential to add to the estrogenic burden of the human breast.

In a 2006 report published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology, researchers found that the following metals were capable of binding to cellular estrogen receptors and then mimicking the actions of physiological estrogens: "aluminium, antimony, arsenite, barium, cadmium, chromium (Cr(II)), cobalt, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, selenite, tin and vanadate."  

As we revealed in an earlier exposé on the use of toxic forms of selenium in USDA certified organic infant formula, exposure to sodium selenite (and sodium selenate) is difficult to avoid, as it is the primary source of supplemental selenium in mass market vitamins, foods, beverages, etc. The same is true for inorganic forms of chromium, copper, nickel, tin and and vanadium, which you will find on the labels of many mass market multivitamins.

Another daily source of metalloestrogen exposure for millions of consumers is aluminum-based antiperspirants. Investigations into the link between these personal care products and breast cancer risk came to a head earlier this year in a story we broke, and excerpt from below:

Aluminium salts used as antiperspirants have been incriminated as contributing to breast cancer incidence in Western societies. To date, very little or no epidemiological or experimental data confirm or infirm this hypothesis. We report here that in MCF-10A human mammary epithelial cells, a well-established normal human mammary epithelial cell model, long-term exposure to aluminium chloride (AlCl(3) ) concentrations of 10-300 µm, i.e. up to 100 000-fold lower than those found in antiperspirants, and in the range of those recently measured in the human breast, results in loss of contact inhibition and anchorage-independent growth." [emphasis added]

If a metal can exhibit carcinogenic properties at a concentration 100,000-fold lower than presently used in personal care products, it is critical that there be a paradigm shift in the way toxicological risk assessments are performed.

Presently, the risk assessments depend on animal studies, where the goal is to find out how much of a chemical it takes to acutely kill 50% of an exposed population (LD50). Only then, is an "acceptable level of harm" extrapolated for humans (as if determining an "acceptable level of harm" were an ethically neutral objective).

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