Results of Long Island Breast Cancer Study Released

Aug. 7, 2002
Exposure to environmental contaminants does not appear to have greatly increased the risks of breast cancer for women in Nassau and Suffolk counties in New York, despite local concern to the contrary.

"As in other areas of the United States, breast cancer is the most commonly reported cancer among women who reside on Long Island, N.Y. ," noted researchers. "The high incidence rates observed in this geographic region coupled with the local community's long-term concern about the health and ecological effects of environmental pollution, have culminated in grass roots support for the hypothesis that environmental pollutants are involved in the development of breast cancer."

Researchers for the Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project, one of the largest and most comprehensive environmental epidemiologic studies ever conducted on breast cancer, reported two principal findings:

  • Exposure to air-polluting polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the environment appears to elevate women's risk of breast cancer by what the researchers called a "modest" 50 percent in the two counties.
  • Exposure to organochlorine compounds resulted in no increased rate of illness among area women.

The results of the multi-year, congressionally mandated study are published in the August issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal published by the American Association for Cancer Research.

The report was prepared by principal investigator Dr. Marilie D. Gammon, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health, along with 27 other distinguished scientists, many of them from New York state institutions.

The full text of the report appears in two articles that can be accessed electronically at no charge for 30 days at: [Part I] and [Part II]

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