What really raises the risk of breast cancer?

HOUSE CLEANING PRODUCTS Theory: A recent U.S. study found that women who used air freshener sprays were 20 per cent more likely to develop breast cancer. Daily use raised the risk by 30 per cent. The link was stronger with solid air fresheners: those who used them the most were twice as likely to be diagnosed with the disease.

HOUSE CLEANING PRODUCTS

Theory:

A recent U.S. study found that women who used air freshener sprays were 20 per cent more likely to develop breast cancer. Daily use raised the risk by 30 per cent.

The link was stronger with solid air fresheners: those who used them the most were twice as likely to be diagnosed with the disease.

Expert Comment:

This study relied on asking people with breast cancer to remember how often they used air fresheners and other cleaning products many years ago. The problem is that our memories can be affected by our beliefs about what is true.

This is called ‘recall bias’ and makes small studies such as this (involving 1,600 women) unreliable. There is a genuine worry that certain ingredients may behave like the hormone oestrogen, which could, in theory, affect breast cancer risk. But this has been shown only in laboratory studies with cells.

There’s no good evidence from studies in real people that cleaning products could cause breast cancer.
Evidence for Link: WEAK.

Good Health

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