Federal study shows no link between pollution and breast cancer

Tuesday, August 6th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ A study on possible links between pollution and the high rates of breast cancer on Long Island failed to show a connection, results showed Tuesday.

Results of the seven year, $8 million, study by the National Cancer Institute, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, is a disappointment to many activists who had hoped that lives could be saved by the research.

The study had looked at four toxic chemicals that were once widely used on Long Island.

More than 1,000 women took part in the study, which is the centerpiece of the $30-million Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project mandated by Congress in 1993.

Some criticized the study as to narrow, arguing that other factors besides the four polluting chemicals _ mostly now-banned pesticides _ should be closely investigated.

``Did I hope this would be the be-all and end-all? Yeah, I hoped, and it isn't. But it is at least a step in the right direction,'' Debbie Basile of the Babylon Breast Cancer Coalition told Newsday.

The American Cancer Society estimates 2,900 New York women will die from breast cancer this year and another 14,700 women will be newly diagnosed.

The highest unexplained ratio of breast cancer patients _ when issues like seasonal residents are factored out _ will likely come from Suffolk County. Nassau county is not far behind, according to state figures.

Breast cancer rates can vary drastically from place to place, suggesting to epidemiologists that something in the environment is a contributing factor.