Ask-the-Expert Online Conference
- Question from MEA: I read where burning fossil fuel elevates one's risk for breast cancer. I live under a flight path to a military base (VA Beach, VA) and am the third unrelated person to live on this property to develop breast cancer. I was only 42 when I was diagnosed. Any thoughts on this?
The National Academy of Sciences has evaluated the toxicity of jet fuel. Using animal evidence, they concluded there are a number of compounds found in jet fuel that increase the number of mammary tumors found in animals. We simply do not have any studies of humans. Reasonable people can disagree on this, but it's my opinion that the animal evidence is very worrisome.
In addition, there have been a couple of recent epidemiological studies finding increased risk of childhood cancers in children in England who live near heavy traffic areas. We know that some of the emissions associated with traffic have been found also to increase mammary tumors in animals. So the unfortunate answer is that the development of tumors could be associated with this exposure but we can't come to firm conclusions.
- Sue Heffelfinger In addition to mammary tumors, there is evidence that immune function and asthma are also indirectly related to exposure in childhood. The real sensitive age, especially for breast cancer, can occur during maximum time of breast development, i.e. childhood and puberty. So exposure at that age is particularly worrisome.
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