Did you know that breast cancer risk increases with age, and can be influenced by one's level of physical activity, diet, family history, age of first menstrual period, age at first live birth, use of hormone therapy, and previous cancer diagnosis?
Almost 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States each year, making it the second leading cause of cancer deaths. Signs of breast cancer may include a lump, dimpling and pitting of breast skin, bloody discharge from the nipple or discharge from only one breast, or thickening of the breast skin and changes in breast size or shape1,2,3,4 Some women may not have any signs at all. Experts estimate that 38% of breast cancers in the United States can be prevented through lifestyle changes, such as those described below5.
The following are risks which may increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer. Some of these risks can be reduced by changes you can make.
Risk Factors that You Can Control
- Combination hormone replacement therapy, including estrogen and progestin. These hormones have been given to women in order to control postmenopausal conditions. In addition to breast cancer, long-term combination hormone replacement therapy increases your risk of heart disease and blood clots1.
- Obesity. There is convincing evidence that being overweight increases your risk of breast cancer, especially in women who have gone through menopause. Therefore, chose a diet low in fat, with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, limit sugary drinks and processed foods, and exercise regularly1,2,3,5.
- Alcohol consumption. Having two or more drinks each day increases your risk of getting breast cancer by about 25 percent (A drink is defined as 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor). Decreasing alcohol consumption has been associated with decreased cancer risk1,2,4. Therefore, it is recommended that women have no more than one alcoholic drink per day4,5.
- Physical Activity. Evidence is growing that physical activity reduces breast cancer risk. In one study, as little as 1¼ to 2½ hours per week of brisk walking reduced a woman's risk by 18%. Walking 10 hours a week reduced the risk even more4. Exercise can also help maintain a healthy weight, further reducing risk1. The American Cancer Society recommends 45 to 60 minutes of intentional physical activity 5 or more days a week in order to reduce your risk of breast cancer4.
- Birth Control Methods. There is some evidence that women who have used birth control pills have a slightly greater risk of breast cancer than women who have never used them. The increased risk appears to decline once a woman stops using birth control pills and returns to normal after ten years4.
- Tobacco Smoke. Recent research also indicates that exposure to tobacco smoke may increase the risk of breast cancer6,7.
- Having Children and Breastfeeding. Pregnancy decreases estrogen (a female sex hormone) production, which protects women, especially those who have children at a younger age1,2,4. Some studies also suggest that breastfeeding, especially if it is continued for 1 ½ to 2 years, lowers breast cancer risk4,5.
Risk Factors that You Cannot Control
- Estrogen, the primary female sex hormone. Women who have their first period before age 12, and those who experience late menopause, have increased breast cancer risk.
- Genetic factors, including mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. About 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary. Discussing your family history with your doctor can help you determine whether genetic testing is appropriate3.
- Mammograms are the best method to detect breast cancer early when it is easier to treat and before a lump may be big enough to feel or cause symptoms. Men and women should talk to their health care provider about which tests are right for them and when to get them. The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms starting at age 404. Other groups recommend a mammogram every other year for women aged 50 to 748.
- Women should be aware of any changes in their breasts. Women should seek medical advice if they detect any change in the shape or fell of their breasts.
- Eat a healthy, low fat diet, full of fresh fruits and vegetables and limit sugary drinks and processed foods (see also our Smart Tip on The Power of a Healthy Diet).
- Exercise regularly, 30 minutes a day for three to five days a week (see also our Smart Tip on Physical Activity).
- Limit your alcohol consumption to no more than 1 drink per day.
The National Cancer Institute’s Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool can help you calculate your risk of developing breast cancer. You can access the tool at: http://www.cancer.gov/bcrisktool/ Follow up with your doctor to discuss the results after taking the test.
Additional Smart Tips
Passive Smoke - Secondhand smoke, also know as environmental tobacco smoke, is the smoke that bystanders are exposed to when near a person who is smoking.
Cigarette Smoking - Lung Cancer is the #1 cancer killer for men and women in the United States and smoking causes about 90% of lung cancer deaths in men and 80% in women.
- http://www.mayoclinic.com (click on Health Information, and then Diseases and Conditions)
American Cancer Society Detailed Guide on Breast Cancer. Revised 9/6/12.
National Cancer Institute Fact Sheet on Secondhand Smoke and Cancer, reviewed 1/12/11.
- California Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. Secondhand Tobacco Smoke and Children’s Health.
Centers for Disease Control. Breast Cancer Screening. Updated September 17, 2012.
Did you know that many of the products we bring into our homes may contain ingredients that are linked to cancer? Careful choices about products we use for cleaning, crafts and hobbies, maintenance, pest control and personal care can reduce your family’s exposure and risk.
Consider how much time you and your children spend in your home. Some of the common products that we use in our homes contain ingredients that have been linked to cancer, such as petroleum ingredients or formaldehyde1. Use of these products can lead to indoor air contamination, and unnecessary exposure to you and your family. Many of these common ingredients have been detected in the indoor air samples collected from homes 2
. In addition, many have been detected in blood and urine samples collected from the US population 3
Here are just some examples of potentially harmful ingredients that can be found in products used around the homes. 1,4,5
- Plastics: bisphenol A, phthalates, polystyrene
- Detergents: nonyl phenol
- Art supplies: heavy metals, glues, photo-developing chemicals
- Cosmetics: parabens, phthalates
- Paints and Stains: petroleum solvents and volatile organic chemicals
- Pesticides: indoor and outdoor treatments. Examples of pesticides that have shown evidence of causing cancer or endocrine disruption are; chlordane, DDT, 2, 4 D, simazine.
- Take the attached Home Survey to see where you can reduce exposure to household chemicals and reduce your risk.
- Read the label: Always read the label and find out the ingredients in the products you use. 6
- Never mix household products unless the label directs you to do so or you may produce harmful gases.
- Select the least toxic product for the task.
- Purchase only the amount you need because containers may get damaged and leak during storage.
- Always follow the directions on the label for proper use of the product.
- Be sure to use volatile materials in a well ventilated area.
- Check the US Department of Health and Human Services website of Household Products to see what might be in your products.
For more information you may want to check out these websites:
1. World Health Organization, 2009. Agents Reviewed by the IARC Monographs, Volumes 1-100A (by CAS Numbers). International Agency for Research on Cancer, updated April 2, 2009. 2. United States Environmental Protection Agency
, 2009. An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality. 1/26/09 3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2005. National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals (Third Report). United States Department of Health and Human Services. NCEH Pub#:05-0725. 4. Brody, Julia Green, and Ruthann A. Rudel, 2003. Environmental Pollutants and Breast Cancer. Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 111 No. 8 June 2003. pp 1007-1019. 5. Cornell University Program on Breast Cancer and Environmental Risk Factors
(BCERF), 2009. Breast Cancer: The Estrogen Connection. 6. Cornell Cooperative Extension, 1992. Household Cleaning Products-What About Substitutes?
Did you know that the pet grooming products used to control fleas and ticks are actually pesticides? Whether you treat your pet yourself, or use the services of a groomer, it is important to take precautions to avoid unnecessary exposure and potential injury to your family or pet.
If you have a dog or cat, you have probably used a flea or tick control product on your pet. These products can be used to prevent or treat pests on your pet. Some pet owners choose to have a pet groomer apply the flea and tick control products. Products used by professional groomers to kill or control fleas, ticks and other pests on pets must be registered by the US Environmental Protection Agency as well as registered in New York State with the Department of Environmental Conservation 1.
Minimizing exposure to pesticides is beneficial since all pesticides are toxic to some degree2. Recent research has examined the link between pesticide exposure and children’s health outcomes. Pesticides have been shown to affect a variety of body systems including reproductive, endocrine, immune, respiratory and developmental disorders (e.g. autism) and behavioral conditions (e.g. ADHD)3. There is evidence that some pesticides may pose a risk of some childhood cancer4,5.
Adverse effects, such as burning eyes, vomiting and coughing have been reported when tick and flea control products are not used according to label directions6. Though it is often difficult to directly link a specific pesticide use with adverse effects it is still prudent to reduce exposure, especially to pregnant woman7,8, and young children, when possible. Infants and toddlers are particularly at risk since they are closer to the ground or floor surface and frequently put their hands in their mouths which can lead to exposure9.
Studies have found that small amounts of flea or tick control pesticides can remain on a pet's fur and skin after the product is applied. It is particularly important to not touch your pets until after the treatment dries, however even dry residues can persist.10
In 2010, the US EPA released a report about poisoning incidents in pets. Most of the reported incidents resulted in minor symptoms; however, some did result in death of the pet. The US EPA concluded that many pet poisonings occurred because the products were misused. This lead to requirements that labels on flea and tick control products be revised to provide clearer information11. If your pet experiences symptoms such as irritated skin, vomiting or trembling, you may want to contact your veterinarian or the National Animal Poison Control Center (NAPCC) at (888) 426-4435. You can also report the incident to the manufacturer, who is required by law to forward such reports to the US EPA. Information on how to contact the manufacturer is provided on the product’s label. In Suffolk County you can also contact your local Region 1 of Department of Environmental Conservation and report such information.
How to minimize exposure to flea and tick pesticides when used on your pet
The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) recommends that care be taken when dealing with treatments containing potentially harmful pesticides. NYSDOH offers these recommendations6:
- Read the product label first! Labels contain important information about proper use.
- Apply only the recommended dose; more can be harmful to you and your pet.
- If the product gets on your skin, wash immediately. Consider wearing gloves when applying.
- Do not touch treated pets, carpet or furniture until the product dries.
- Be sure to use the correct product. Some products are for pets, while others are to be used strictly on carpets and furniture. The two types of products should not be used interchangeably.
- Do not use dog treatments on cats, or cat treatments on dogs.
- Be certain of your pet's weight and purchase the appropriate treatment.
- Safely store products away from children and pets.
Pet groomers should alert all pet caregivers about the potential risk of pesticide residue exposure and share these tips with them.
Are there other ways to control fleas and ticks? The US EPA suggests the following tips to help prevent, reduce, or eliminate flea infestations12 :
- Vacuum your home on a daily basis to remove flea eggs, larvae and adults. It is important to vacuum carpets, cushioned furniture, cracks and crevices on floors, along baseboards and the basement. Remember to discard the vacuum bag.
- Steam cleaning carpets may also help as the hot steam and soap can kill fleas in all stages of the life cycle.
- Try vacuuming your pet to remove any fleas from its fur, if the pet will tolerate it.
- Wash all pet bedding and family bedding on which pets lie in hot, soapy water every two to three weeks. If an infestation is severe, discard old pet bedding and replace it with fresh, clean material.
- Try using a flea comb, which can be a very effective tool to suppress adult fleas on your pet. When fleas are caught, deposit them in hot soapy water to kill them.
To reduce ticks in your yard, the Centers for Disease Control recommends the following13:
- Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns.
- Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas and around patios and play equipment. This will restrict tick migration into recreational areas.
- Mow the lawn frequently.
- Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (discourages rodents that ticks feed on).
- Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees and place them in a sunny location, if possible.
- Remove any old furniture, mattresses, or trash from the yard that may give ticks a place to hide.
- Refer to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station's Tick Management Handbook[PDF - 8.53 MB] for a comprehensive guide to preventing ticks and their bites through landscaping.
- Discourage deer. Removing plants that attract deer and constructing physical barriers may help discourage deer from entering your yard and bringing ticks with them.
For More Information
New York State Health Department website on flea and tick control products:
Information about pesticide poisoning:
Information about using pesticides around and on pets
Information about the regulation of pet groomers and pesticide products:
If you have any concerns about exposure to flea and tick products for you or your pet, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222
For more information you may want to check out these websites:
- 1New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). (n.d.). Pet Groomers and Pesticide Products. Retrieved from http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/106044.htmhttp://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/106044.html.
- 2National Pesticide Information Center. (2015, November 6). Pesticides and Human Health. Retrieved from http://npic.orst.edu/health/humhealth.html.
- 3Liu, J., Schelar, E. (2012, May). Pesticide Exposure and Child Neurodevelopment. Workplace Health and Safety. 60(5):235-243. doi: 10.3928/21650799-20120426-73.
- 4Environmental Protection Agency. (2015). Childhood Cancer. America’s Children and the Environment(3rd ed.). Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-06/documents/health-childhood-cancer.pdf.
- 5Leiss, J.K., Savitz, D.A. (1995, February). Home pesticide use and childhood cancer: a case control study. American Journal of Public Health. 85(2):249-252. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1615305/.
- 6New York State Department of Health. (n.d.). Reducing Poisonings from flea and tick control treatments. Retrieved from http://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/pests/fleatick.htm.
- 7Xue, Z., Li, X., Sue, Q., Xu, L., Zhang, P., Kong, Z., Xu, J., Teng, J. (2013, July). Effects of synthetic pyrethroid pesticide exposure during pregnancy on the growth and development of infants. Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health. 40(6):693-697. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22279658.
- 8Qi, X., Zheng, M., Wu, C., Chang, X., Want, G., Lu, D., Zhou, Z. (2011, November). Impact of prenatal pyrethroid exposure on neurodevelopment of one year old infants. Journal of Hygiene Research. 40(6):693-697. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/221779679_Impact_of_prenatal_pyrethroid_exposure_on_neurodevelopment_of_one-year_old_infants.
- 9United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2011, October 3). Exposure Factors Handbook. National Center for Environmental Assessment. Retrieved from https://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/risk/recordisplay.cfm?deid=236252.
- 10Britton, W. (2007, September 13). MGK-264:Data Evaluation Record for “Human Exposure During and Following Use of a Pyrethrins/Piperonyl Butoxide/MGK-264 Shampoo Formulation on Dogs- Volume I & II [Memorandum]. Washington D.C. United States Environmental Protection Agency.
- 11United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2016). EPA Evaluation of Pet Spot on Products: Analysis and Plans for Reducing Harmful Effects. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/pets/epa-evaluation-pet-spot-products-analysis-and-plans-reducing-harmful-effects.
- Xue, Z., Li, X., Sue, Q., Xu, L., Zhang, P., Kong, Z., Xu, J., Teng, J. (2013, July). Effects of synthetic pyrethroid pesticide exposure during pregnancy on the growth and development of infants. Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health. 40(6):693-697. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22279658.
- 12United States Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). Are there other methods to prevent and control fleas and ticks besides use of spot-on flea and tick products? Retrieved from https://pesticides.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/212332257-Are-there-other-methods-to-prevent-and-control-fleas-and-ticks-besides-use-of-spot-on-flea-and-tick-products-.
- 13Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Preventing Ticks in Your Yard. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/prev/in_the_yard.html.
Everyone knows exercise is good for you, but did you know that including moderate exercise in your daily routine can reduce your risk of colon and breast cancer? 1
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), there are many studies that have shown that individuals who include physical activity in their daily lifestyle can reduce their risk of developing colon cancer by 30 to 40 percent. Similarly, studies have shown that regular exercise may decrease breast cancer risk by 20 to as much as 80 percent, especially in women who have gone through menopause. A high level of exercise during adolescence seems to be particularly protective of breast cancer 1.
In addition to breast and colon cancer, there is also evidence that the risk of endometrial cancer (a cancer of the lining of the uterus) declines with increasing physical activity and that such activity may reduce endometrial cancer risks by 20 to 40 percent 1.
There is also evidence that moderate exercise, 3 to 5 hours per week, can increase survival rates for those diagnosed with breast cancer.
Encourage your children to be active and participate in physical activities, because for healthy behaviors to last a lifetime they should begin in childhood.
As an adult, you don’t have to be an athlete to incorporate healthy physical activity into your lifestyle, but of course always check with your physician before beginning any new exercise routine.
The CDC recommends 2½ hours per week (30 minutes per day, 5 days per week) if you do moderate activity, such as gardening, walking briskly or ballroom dancing. If you do more vigorous activity, such as aerobics, biking, jumping rope, or jogging, the CDC recommends at least 1 hour and 15 minutes per week. Even 10 minutes at a time, spread throughout the week is beneficial. For children, it is recommended that they include some form of physical activity for an hour each day 2.
- Grab a partner: find a friend or co-worker to exercise with. You are more likely to stick with it if you have some one to be physically active with.
- Try to develop a routine and stick with it: keep track of your efforts so you can feel good about yourself and the progress you are making.
- Leave those “prized” parking spaces for others: park your car distant from entrances to include more walking in your daily routine.
- Take the stairs: Start slowly and check with your physician first, but when you can, skip taking the elevator and include the stairs in a daily work out at work.
Note: always be sure to check with your physician before beginning a new exercise routine.
Resources for More Information
1. National Cancer Institute
, 2009. Fact Sheet: Physical Activity and Cancer: Questions and Answers. United States Institutes of Health: 2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
, 2008. Physical Activity Guidelines. Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity. November, 2008:
Did you know that common everyday household products often contain harmful chemicals? 1 Fortunately, many stores in our neighborhoods now carry many non-toxic cleaning products. But you can also make safe, non-toxic cleaners with items you have in your home for just pennies.
Common everyday household cleaning products such as glass cleaner, bath and shower cleaners, drain cleaners, fabric softeners or carpet cleaners contain a number of different chemical ingredients such as petroleum based products, fragrances, glycol ethers, formaldehyde and alcohols (plus many others). 2 Some of these ingredients have been linked to cancer (components of petroleum, formaldehyde), allergic reactions (fragrances), nervous system toxicity (glycol ethers) or can be irritating to the eyes, nose throat and respiratory system (ammonia, bleach) 3,4. As you clean with these products, these ingredients can also be inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin by the humans and pets that come in contact with them. Or they may be accidentally ingested by young children. 1
Common pantry items such as white vinegar, baking soda and salt can effectively and cheaply replace many of the toxic cleaners you have been using for years. Not only are they easy to create, they are safer for use.
Experts say it takes three weeks to create a new habit. The next time you run out of a conventional cleaning product, make a concerted effort to replace it with one of the many safer products found in many local grocery stores. Do this each time you need to replace a cleaner and before you know it, you’ll have eliminated a source of chemical exposure in your own home.
- Try combining 1 part white vinegar, 3 parts olive oil and a few drops of fresh lemon juice to make an effective furniture polish. 4
- Place ¼ cup of white vinegar and 2 cups of water in a large bowl and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Let it sit for an additional 3 minutes and then wipe the inside of the microwave with a clean cloth.
Resources for More Information
1. Cornell Cooperative Extension, 1992. Household Cleaning Products-What About Substitutes? 2. United States Department of Health and Human Services
, 2009. Household Products Database. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. 3. National Library of Medicine, 2009. Hazardous Substance Databank. 4. Organic Consumers Association
, 2009. "How Toxic Are Your Household Cleaning Supplies?" Product Report: Household Cleaning Supplies The Green Guide Straight to the Source. Accessed 5/22/09.
Did you know that dietary factors account for about 30% of all cancers? By including a wide array of healthy plant foods including-- fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes such as beans-- and maintaining a healthy weight, you can also reduce the incidence of many other serious diseases. And it can be as simple as learning how to navigate your grocery store aisles. By making small changes every week you can make great strides toward eating a health-promoting diet in a short period of time - while saving money!
The American Cancer Society estimates that around one-third of deaths that are due to cancer are linked to poor diet, physical inactivity, and carrying too much weight 1. According to the National Cancer Institute, people who eat a poor diet, or are overweight may be at increased risk of several types of cancer 2. For example, studies suggest that people whose diet is high in fat have an increased risk of colon cancer. Drinking alcohol has been associated with cancer of the mouth, esophagus, breast and colon.
Additionally, numerous studies have shown that the cancer protective diet outlined below can significantly reduce the risk of other serious diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes 3.
- Choose a diet of mostly plant foods, with 5 to 9 servings of vegetables and fruit per day, and a variety of other high-fiber whole grains and legumes such as beans. 3,4,5
- Limit red meat and avoid processed meat consumption. 4,5
- Aim to be a healthy weight throughout life.
- To help avoid overweight: choose healthy, unprocessed foods (as mentioned above); avoid sugary drinks, opting for water to quench thirst; limit processed foods high in added sugar, low in fiber and high in fat. 6
- If you drink at all, limit alcohol consumption to no more than 2 drinks/day for men and 1/day for women. 2,4,5
1. American Cancer Society
. Diet and Physical Activity: What’s the Cancer Connection? 2. National Cancer Institute
. Cancer Prevention Overview; Risk Factors 3. Harvard School of Public Health on Diet and Health
4. American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) on Diet:
AICR Reduce your Cancer Risk with Diet
AICR Recommendations for Cancer Prevention
AICR Foods that Fight Cancer
5. American Cancer Society on Diet 6. AICR on Energy Dense Foods and Avoiding Overweight
Did you know that the use of pesticides around the home can lead to exposures inside and outside your living space?
Some pesticide ingredients are considered carcinogens (cancer-causing).
Even when applied to outside areas, like your lawn, pesticides can be tracked inside on shoes and pets 1. Once indoors, pesticides can persist for months since they are not exposed to sunlight, weather or broken down by micro-organisms normally found in the soil 2,3,4.
Often pesticides are used unnecessarily to control a pest that is not harmful. Or a pesticide product may be used inappropriately leading to overexposure.
Minimizing exposure to pesticides is beneficial since all pesticides are toxic to some degree 5. There is evidence that some pesticides may pose a risk of cancer, as well as other health effects. Though it is difficult to directly link a specific pesticide use with any of these effects it is prudent to reduce exposure, especially to young children, when possible. Infants and toddlers are particularly at risk since they are closer to the ground or floor surface and frequently put their hands in their mouths 6.
(Note: Many of these recommendations are taken from information provided by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation 7,8)
1) Prevent pest problems before they occur.
i) Eliminate pest entry into your home
ii) Remove food sources, nesting materials, rotting wood
iii) Monitor pests so you catch problems when they are small and more easily controlled
iv) Identify the pest and learn about the best way to control it.
2) Explore options for nonchemical pest controls. When necessary use an organic remedy first. If you must use a chemical pest control, READ THE LABEL FIRST, and understand how to properly use the product safely and effectively. (Contact the Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County for more information 631-727-7850)
3) Children and pets should not be in the area where you mix or apply pesticides.
4) Never eat, drink or smoke while you mix or apply pesticides.
5) Keep pesticides in their original containers and store in locked cabinets or sheds.
6) Never transfer pesticides to other containers such as those used for milk or soft drinks.
7) Mix only the amount of pesticides you need for one application to control a particular pest.
8) Do not use or mix pesticides near your drinking water well.
9) Sweep up granular pesticides that fall on walk ways and driveways and use sweepings on areas to be treated or put back into container. (This prevents runoff to storm drains).
10) Never pour leftover pesticides down the drain, storm drain, or on the ground outside.
11) If you need to dispose of any unwanted pesticide product, contact your Town about hazardous waste collection options.
Resources for More Information
Best Overall Brochures:
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County
- IPM for Homes
- New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Pest Management Information Series;
for more information on pest control (631-727-7850) NYDEC website
for more information on pesticides registered in the State
Breast Cancer and Environmental Risk Factors (BCERF):
1. Nishioka, MG, RG Lewis, MC Brinkman, HM Burkholder, CE Hines and JR Menkedick. 2001. Distribution of 2,4-D in Air and on Surfaces inside Residences after Lawn Applications: Comparing Exposure Estimates from Various Media for Young Children. Environmental Health Perspectives. 109(11):1185-1191 (November 2001). 2. Simcox, NJ, RA Fenske, SA Wolz, IC Lee and DA Kalman. 1995. Pesticides in Household Dust and Soil: Exposure Pathways for Children of Agricultural Families. Environmental Health Perspectives 103:1126-1134. 3. Wilson, NK, JCChuang, C Lyu, R Menton and MK Morgan. 2003. Aggregate Exposures of Nine Preschool Children to Persistent Organic Pollutants at Day Care and at Home. J. Expo Anal Environ Epidemiol. 13:187-202. 4. Lewis, RG, CR Fortune, FT Blanchard and DE Camann. 2001. Movement and Deposition of Two Organophosphorus Pesticides within a Residence after Interior and Exterior Applications. Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association. 51:339-351 (March 2001). 5. United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), 2004. Healthy Lawn, Healthy Environment. Caring for Your Lawn in an Environmentally Friendly Way. 735-K-04-001. September 2004 6. United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), 1997. Exposure Factors Handbook. National Center for Environmental Assessment. August, 1997. 7. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Pest Management Information Series
; Water Quality and Home Pesticide Use, April 2000. 8. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Pest Management Information Series
; Home Pest Management and Children, March 2000.
Did you know that your skin is the body’s largest organ? Grooming products can contain toxic chemicals and when applied to our skin may wind up in our bloodstream. Luckily, we can choose products that make us look good without harming our health.
Many ingredients in cosmetics and grooming products are not regulated by the FDA or any other agency. There are over 10,500 chemicals and ingredients that are used in making cosmetics, shampoos, body lotions and other personal care products. Even products marketed as “Natural” can contain ingredients harmful to human health 1.
- Look up the ingredients on the label of the products you use at Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. This informative and comprehensive site will tell you which ingredients are of concern. Aim to choose the least toxic alternative.
- Gain a better understanding of why many ingredients in cosmetics and grooming products are considered endocrine disruptors and the role they may play in the development of cancer and other diseases by watching videos here.
- Avoid products containing the following 2 -
|Benzophenone -1 or -2
Resources for More Information
1. Environmental Working Group
2. Program on Breast Cancer and Environmental Risk Factors
(BCERF), 2009. Breast Cancer and the Estrogen Connection. Cornell University 3. Brody, Julia Green, and Ruthann A. Rudel, 2003. Environmental Pollutants and Breast Cancer. Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 111 No. 8 June 2003. pp1007-1019.
Did you know that more than 60,000 people die each year from exposure to secondhand smoke and there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke? 1
Secondhand smoke, also know as environmental tobacco smoke, is the smoke that bystanders are exposed to when near a person who is smoking. Secondhand smoke contains more than 250 chemicals known to be toxic or cancer-causing, including formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride, arsenic, ammonia, and hydrogen cyanide. 1
The National Toxicology Program has concluded that secondhand or environmental tobacco smoke is known to cause cancer in humans. 2
According to the Surgeon General, there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Breathing even a little can be dangerous.1
Exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of heart 3 disease as well as many types of cancer. Secondhand smoke (passive smoke) contains the same toxic chemicals that are inhaled in active smoking. In April 2009 a Canadian expert panel reported their conclusion that women exposed to tobacco smoke in adolescence and adulthood face an increased risk of breast cancer. 4
Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can cause immediate harm and begin the cancer process, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause pneumonia, bronchial and respiratory infections, ear infections, and new cases of asthma in infants and children. Secondhand smoke is a known cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome5 and is also responsible for spontaneous abortions, still births and low birth weights 3. The American Academy of Pediatrics has concluded that exposure during childhood to secondhand smoke may be associated with development of cancer during adulthood.
The recently coined "third hand smoke" is the residue from tobacco smoke that lingers in rooms on surfaces and clothes long after smoking stops. There is a growing body of evidence that this "third hand smoke" has significant health risks. Young children are especially at risk because they place their hands in their mouths after touching tobacco contaminated surfaces. 6
- If you smoke, quit. There is no time like the present. Make a commitment to take charge of your health and the health of those you care about. See below for information on the: Suffolk County Department of Health Services, "Learn To Be. . .Tobacco Free" program!
- Until you quit, be sure not to smoke near children and pregnant woman, since they are especially at risk for health problems related to secondhand smoke.
- If you do not smoke, don’t start. Encourage healthy behaviors in your children and set an example by not smoking.
Resources to help you Quit
The Suffolk County Department of Health Services, "Learn To Be. . .Tobacco Free" program offers many services available to Suffolk County residents. 1. Smoking Cessation Programs
: (631-853-4017) This program provides behavior modification and supportive pharmaceuticals to medically eligible participants. We support them in discovering the benefits of a tobacco-free lifestyle. All groups and programs are supervised by a nurse practitioner and services are provided to residents at no cost. Program participants also receive personalized follow-up. Classes are held during the day and in the evenings throughout the county. To help prevent relapse, monthly support groups are held in Eastern and Western Suffolk for those who have completed the program. Classes are held at businesses for employees and in county offices specifically for our employees. For more information, call 631-853-4017 or visit the Department’s website
2. School Based Programs
: (631-853-3162) Suffolk County offers presentations to high schools, colleges to tell the truth about tobacco and secondhand smoke. 3. Tobacco Control Laws
: (631-853-3162) Suffolk County strictly enforces all state and local laws that apply to tobacco sales and use, including laws that prohibit the sale of tobacco to youth under the age of 19. The Department also enforces the New York State and Suffolk County clean indoor air laws. To report violators of tobacco control laws, call 631-853-3162.
Resources for More Information
1. Centers for Disease Control
, 2006. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2. National Toxicology Program, 2000. Report on Carcinogens, Ninth Edition; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program. 3. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids
, 2009. Women’s Health and Smoking 4. University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health, 2009. Press Release on the Report of the Expert Panel on Tobacco Smoke and Breast Cancer Risk. April 23, 2009. 5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2004. 6. American’s for Nonsmokers Rights, 2009. "Thirdhand Smoke: Growing Awareness of Health Hazard." ANR Update, 28(1), Spring 2009.
Did you know that each year, smoking kills more people than AIDS, alcohol, drug abuse, car crashes, murders, suicides and fires....combined.1
Ten years after quitting, your lung cancer death rate is about half that of a smoker’s. Your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas also decreases.2
So what are you waiting for???
Lung Cancer is the #1 cancer killer for men and women in the United States and smoking causes about 90% of lung cancer deaths in men and 80% in women.1
Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, causing more than 440,000 deaths each year or about 1 in 5 deaths annually and resulting in an annual cost of more than $96 billion in medical costs, over $8 billion in New York State. 3,4
In addition to cancer, smoking harms our health in many other ways. Women who smoke have a higher risk of developing heart disease than men5. Smoking during pregnancy causes low birth weights, preterm deliveries, increased risk of miscarriages, sudden infant death syndrome, and is linked to childhood cancers. 6,7
Here’s how your body recovers once you quit.2
- If you smoke, quit. There is no time like the present. Make a commitment to take charge of your health and quit. See below for information on the: Suffolk County Department of Health Services, "Learn To Be. . .Tobacco Free" program!
- If you do not smoke, don’t start. Encourage healthy behaviors in your children and set an example by not smoking.
Within 20 minutes after you smoke that last cigarette, your body begins a series of changes that continue for years:
- 20 Minutes After Quitting. . . Your heart rate drops.
- 12 Hours After Quitting. . . Carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
- 2 Weeks to 3 Months After Quitting. . . Your heart attack risk begins to drop. Your lung function begins to improve.
- 1 to 9 Months After Quitting. . . Your coughing and shortness of breath decreases.
- 1 Year After Quitting. . . Your added risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.
- 5 Years After Quitting. . . Between 5 and 15 years after quitting, your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker’s.
- 10 Years After Quitting. . . Your lung cancer death rate is about half that of a smoker’s. Your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas decreases.
- 15 Years After Quitting. . . Your risk of coronary heart disease is back to that of a nonsmoker’s.
Resources to help you Quit
The Suffolk County Department of Health Services, "Learn To Be. . .Tobacco Free" program offers many services available to Suffolk County residents. 1. Smoking Cessation Programs:
This program provides behavior modification and supportive pharmaceuticals to medically eligible participants. We support them in discovering the benefits of a tobacco-free lifestyle. All groups and programs are supervised by a nurse practitioner and services are provided to residents at no cost, though medications recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be available for $50. Program participants also receive personalized follow-up. Classes are held during the day and in the evenings throughout the county. To help prevent relapse, monthly support groups are held in Eastern and Western Suffolk for those who have completed the program. Classes are held at businesses for employees and in county offices specifically for our employees.
For more information, call 631-853-4017 or visit the Department’s website.
2. School Based Programs: (631-853-3162)
Suffolk County offers presentations to high schools, and colleges, to tell the truth about tobacco and secondhand smoke.
3. Tobacco Control Laws: (631-853-3162)
Suffolk County is committed to strictly enforcing all state and local laws that apply to tobacco sales and use, including laws that prohibit the sale of tobacco to youth under the age of 19. The Department also enforces the New York State and Suffolk County clean indoor air laws. To report violators of tobacco control laws, call 631-853-3162.
Resources for More Information
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009. Fact Sheet: Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking. Updated May 2009.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009. Poster: "Within 20 minutes of quitting…" Updated May 2009. .
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009. Fact Sheet: Fast Facts. Updated May 2009. http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/.
4. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, 2009. "The Toll of Tobacco in New York". Accessed August 25, 2009.
5. Prescott, E, et al., 1998. "Smoking and risk of myocardial infarction in women and men: Longitudinal population study", British Medical Journal (BMJ) 316:1043-7, 1998. (as cited in "Women’s Health and Smoking".
6. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, 2009. Women’s Health and Smoking
7. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health.
Smart Tip - Reduce the Health Impacts of Fossil Fuel Energy
Tip: Did you know:
- That burning fossil fuels, such as petroleum, coal and natural gas, contributes to air pollution?1
- That air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk, and that outdoor air pollution alone is responsible for 4.2 million global deaths each year2.
- There are steps that each of us can take that will not only protect our individual health but improve the health of our community, help to stabilize the climate, and lead toward better global health3,4.
To read more…
Support health-protecting policies
Quick Tips for Reducing Your Use of Fossil Fuels
- Carpool or take public transport when possible.
- Try to walk or bike ride when traveling shorter distances
- Install solar panels on your home or look into joining a community solar program.
- Eat less meat. You may find it easier by taking small steps at first, such as starting with one day a week without meat. (Livestock production is a major emitter of air pollution and climate change gases .)
- Get a free Home Energy Audit: http://www.longislandgreenhomes.org/.
- Buy an electric or hybrid car 6.
- Set your thermostat higher in summer and lower in winter.
- Reduce your shower time.
- Support alternative energy programs, such as wind, water, and sunlight powered energy.
Read on for more recommendations and information about the health impacts of fossil fuels.
Health Impacts of Burning Fossil Fuels
Smog and air pollutants that are produced from burning fossil fuels may trigger asthma, increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, and cause or make existing respiratory disease worse. Burning fossil fuels can lead to a byproduct called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), many of which are considered potential carcinogens and may increase the risk of breast cancer according to a study completed on Long Island 7.
Power Plants and Mercury
About 50 percent of all mercury that is released into the air comes from fossil fuel (coal) burning power plants . Releases of mercury to the environment can accumulate in fish. This is a concern because exposure to mercury can lead to adverse health effects especially in an unborn child. Therefore, pregnant women and those populations that consume a large amount of fish (e.g., people who rely on fish as their primary food source) need to be careful that they are not consuming fish that have a high amount of mercury (see information below) .
In addition to local and personal health effects, the burning of fossil fuel impacts global health due to its role in climate change. The addition of carbon dioxide (CO2), a byproduct of fossil fuel combustion, to the atmosphere is a cause of rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns. Climatic changes are estimated to currently cause over 150,000 deaths annually . Rising temperatures are leading to more frequent and intense heat waves which can cause illness and death in those at risk from cardiovascular and respiratory disease. Heat waves can also increase the level of pollutants in the air, increasing risk of illness from cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and asthma. Changing rainfall patterns are expected to spread the risk of many diseases. Waterborne infectious diseases, mosquito-transmitted diseases such as malaria and Zika, malnutrition, dehydration, and diarrheal-related mortality are expected to spread globally. The most vulnerable people to the effects of climate change are those who live in coastal regions like Long Island, megacities, developing countries, mountainous areas, and Polar regions. Children are particularly vulnerable to the resulting health risks and will be exposed longer to the health consequences of air pollution 11,12.
Reduce your Personal Health Risks from Pollutions
Support Policy Changes to Reduce Pollution
Support the use of renewable energy programs, such as wind, water, and solar. Economic analyses, including one specific to Long Island, suggest that moving to clean energy is indeed possible on Long Island and would:
- have modest costs.
- foster local economic development.
- offer insurance against fluctuations in fuel prices and
- minimize harmful environmental and health impacts of power generation15, 16.
New York is already committed to the 50 by 30 renewables standard, requiring New York utilities and other electricity suppliers to obtain 50 percent of New York’s electricity from truly renewable and pollution-free energy resources—including solar, land-based and offshore wind power, and hydropower—by 2030. Governor Cuomo has also set an unprecedented commitment to responsibly develop 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind—enough to power up to 1.2 million homes, by 203017.
Resources to help you Quit
Air Quality Index for New York: http://www.dec.ny.gov/cfmx/extapps/aqi/aqi_forecast.cfm
Air Quality Index nation-wide: https://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.main
For information about interpreting the Air Quality Index: https://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=aqi_brochure.index
Public Transportation on Long Island:
Free Home Energy Audits with LI Green Homes: http://www.longislandgreenhomes.org/
Check to see when Community Solar becomes available in your area:
Fish Advisories for New York City and Long Island:
Eating Fish: What Pregnant Women and Parents Should Know:
1 US EPA, 2018. Carbon Pollution form Transportation. Last Updated July 17, 2017. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://www.epa.gov/transportation-air-pollution-and-climate-change/carbon-pollution-transportation
2 World Health Organization, 2018. Ambient (Outdoor) Air Quality and Health. May 2, 2018 http://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ambient-(outdoor)-air-quality-and-health
3 US EPA, 2017. What You Can Do about Climate Change. January 19, 2017 https://19january2017snapshot.epa.gov/climatechange/what-you-can-do-about-climate-change.html
4 US EPA Household Carbon Footprint Calculator. Accessed November 29, 2018 https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/household-carbon-footprint-calculator
5 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2006. Livestock’s Long Shadow. Environmental Issues and Options. http://www.fao.org/3/a-a0701e.pdf
6 US EPA, 2017. What You Can Do to Reduce Pollution from Vehicles and Engines. Last Updated January 10, 2017. https://www.epa.gov/air-pollution-transportation/what-you-can-do-reduce-pollution-vehicles-and-engines
7 Gammon MD, et. al., 2002. Environmental toxins in breast cancer on Long Island. I. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon DNA adducts. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. August. 11(8):677-85. https://epi.grants.cancer.gov/past-initiatives/LIBCSP/
8 US National Library of Medicine, 2017. Tox Town; Coal-Fired Power Plants. April 4, 2017 https://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/text_version/locations.php?id=155
9 World Health Organization, 2017. Mercury and Health. March 31, 2017. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs361/en/
10 World Health Organization, 2018. Climate Change. The Health and Environment Linkages Initiative (HELI). http://www.who.int/heli/risks/climate/climatechange/en/
11 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016. Climate and Health. Last Updated July 26, 2016. https://www.cdc.gov/climateandhealth/effects/default.htm
12 World Health Organization, 2018. Climate Change and Health. February 1, 2018. http://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/climate-change-and-health