2005 January: Pesticides Linked to Breast Cancer in Victoria

Monash University PhD student Dr Narges Khanjani has revealed a possible link between the use of organochlorine pesticides and breast cancer in Victoria’s north-east. Her study shows up to 48,000 women in the Ovens and Murray Shire could have been exposed to the chemicals which were mainly used in the production of tobacco crops. “Because this is the only region in Victoria to grow tobacco, the number of women possibly exposed is much higher here than anywhere else in the state,” Dr Khanjani said. “Although women traditionally don’t work in the fields, they have been exposed to the chemicals which have contaminated the food chain and have been unknowingly consumed in produce such as meat, milk and eggs. “Once organochlorines are absorbed into the body they are not easily secreted or broken down and are stored in fat tissue such as breast fat.”