Some women and girls — and certainly many men — will be happy to hear that women's breasts today are on average larger than they've ever been before. But this isn't necessarily good news.
Along with bra size (in just a generation, the average cup-size has gone from 34B to 36C!), women's waist lines are also growing — and that's troubling not for vanity's sake, but because excessive weight gain has been associated with an increased risk in postmenopausal breast cancer. Another long-term risk factor for breast cancer: early-onset puberty. Girls today are developing earlier than ever before, with as many of 15 per cent of them beginning to grow breasts at just 7-years-old!
Further, our bodies store toxic chemicals in fatty tissue, and the bigger the cup size, the more fatty tissue there is to store chemicals like mercury and PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyls; oily, odorless and tasteless manmade chemicals used in everything from pesticide to paint to vacuum pump fluid). PCBs can remain in body fat and organs for months after initial exposure and are known to collect in milk fat and transmit to infants during breastfeeding.
Most alarming: PCBs have been shown to both inhibit and imitate estradiol, the main sex hormone in women — and imitation of the estrogen compound feeds estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells (as well as uterine and cervical cancer cells).
Since the 1940s, cancer rates have doubled, and now 1 in 8 women is likely to have breast cancer in her lifetime. It's a divisive topic, the the idea that environmental pollutants could be to blame for our own unusual health problems. The Long Island Breast Cancer spate has seen support and detraction in equal measure. But the facts remain. And we're not getting any healthier — or any flatter-chested. [DailyMail]
Image credit: Breast cancer from Shutterstock