Dietary Cadmium From Contaminated Crops Linked to Breast Cancer

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Dietary cadmium can occur in low concentrations in nature, but the authors of a new study published in the journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, are more concerned about cadmium that’s turning up in our food system because of farmland contaminated with heavy metals.

Cadmium is a toxic metal that has been known to do damage to the lungs, bones, and kidneys and is now being linked to an increase in incidences of breast cancer.

Science Daily reports:

"Because of a high accumulation in agricultural crops, the main sources of dietary cadmium are bread and other cereals, potatoes, root crops and vegetables," said Agneta Åkesson, Ph.D., associate professor at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. "In general, these foods are also considered healthy."

Science Daily reports that the study followed 55,987 women for more than 12 years. Dietary cadmium was calculated through a food frequency questionnaire. During the followup period researchers established 2,112 cases of breast cancer: 1,626 estrogen receptor positive and 290 estrogen receptor negative.

Overall, researchers found that those with higher amounts of cadmium in their diets had a 21 percent higher risk of breast cancer. Among lean and normal weight women, the risk increased to 27 percent. Although one would wonder whether a questionnaire is the only way to find out accurate cadmium readings. The study leaves women wondering how so-called healthy foods got contaminated with poisonous heavy metals.

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Tags: Agriculture | Cancer | Pesticides