The intent of this chapter is to provide an overview to the current thoughts and ideals regarding the involvement of pesticides and heavy metals in the progress of breast cancer. The history of pesticides encompasses a few millennia, but our understanding of the pesticide action and the health consequences has only begun to develop in the last 30-40 years. Interestingly, many of these pesticides have estrogen-like activity and may be involved in the development of breast cancer. A new category of estrogen-like compounds has been identified and studied in the last 30 years, the ‘metalloestrogens’. Heavy metals, such as cadmium, which have estrogen like activity will be discussed. Finally, we will attempt to pull together the actions of pesticides and metalloestrogens as a possible synergistic mechanism by which these toxins may work to promote breast cancer development.
Part of the book: Toxicity and Hazard of Agrochemicals