The Independent - Breast cancer link to cleaning products and air fresheners

July 20, 2010

By Martin Hickman, Consumer Affairs Correspondent

Excerpt: Air fresheners and some cleaning products increase the risk of breast cancer, a study suggests.

Women who regularly used a combination of cleaning products were twice as likely to have breast cancer as other healthy women, US scientists found. The strongest link was between cancer and air fresheners and mould and mildew removers.

Increased incidence of cancer was also linked to insect repellents.

But there was no connection with home and garden pesticides and surface and oven cleaners.

The researchers admitted the study was imperfect because they asked cancer sufferers to remember whether they had used cleaning products and the strongest correlation was found among those who believed chemicals contributed to the disease. But they defended the findings as "biologically plausible", saying many air fresheners and cleaning products contained endocrine-disrupting chemicals linked to breast cancer in laboratory experiments on rodents.

Household Exposure Study: Cape Cod, Massachusetts