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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, next to skin cancer, according to the World Health Organization. Recent studies suggest that environmental factors may be a larger contributor to cancer incidence than heredity factors.

The American Cancer Society Get Screened campaign encourages people to start or restart their recommended cancer screenings. Encourage your employees to visit "Get Screened" to learn about screening tests and other preventative measures.

The United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, commonly known as the United Steelworkers launched a campaign to "Put Breast Cancer Out of Work" based on the following information:

"The key finding of the six-year study was that young women working in the automotive plastics and food packing industry are five times more likely to have breast cancer than their neighbors working in other industries.

Researchers found that women who worked for 10 years in the automotive, agricultural, plastics, canning, and the casino, bar and racetrack sectors had elevated breast cancer risk. The highest risk factors – nearly 5 times higher than in the control – were for premenopausal women working in the automotive plastics and food-canning sectors.

A later review showed that these workers have higher-than-normal exposure to and body burden of carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting chemicals, which are chemicals that act like estrogens and other hormones. Workers are also exposed to mixtures of chemicals rather than just one at a time. Exposure to complex mixtures may cause worse health effects than the sum of the chemicals’ individual effects."

Action Steps:

Check out OSHA’s toolkit with information about chemicals of concern and suggestions on how to address them. Some examples include informed substitution, reductions in the use of toxic materials, green chemistry, along with tools to facilitate assessments of alternatives.

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