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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2010;11(1):173-80.

Pesticides and breast cancer risk: a comparison between developed and developing countries.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Kent State University, USA.



A large number of studies in Europe and US find little or no association between pesticides and breast cancer, adding to the increasingly dominant view that pesticides are not causally related to breast cancer. We investigated whether there are any differences in the levels of pesticides like dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) and their effect for the development of breast cancer between developed and developing countries.


A pubmed search for literature on pesticides, organochlorines, organophosphates and breast cancer risk from 1990 through 2009 was carried out.


The level of pesticide exposure is higher in developing world than the developed world. DDT is found to be positively associated with breast cancer risk. Results for other pesticides are equivocal. There is a dearth of studies in developing countries, which cannot be made up for generalizing the results from developed countries to the developing and third world.


More studies are needed in the developing and third world countries, investigating the relation between pesticides and breast cancer risk as the sheer amount of pesticides being relentlessly used in these countries due to lack of proper government regulations.

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