Cadmium, a toxic metal byproduct of farm fertilizers, has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, according to a new study.
Swedish researchers -- reporting in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research – said a 12-year analysis of nearly 56,000 women found those who consumed high levels of cadmium through farm crops were far more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than those whose diets contained lower levels.
Cadmium is a naturally occurring toxic metal, but scientists are concerned that the use of farmland fertilizers is contributing to higher levels in crops.
"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, a researcher with thet Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.
For the study, Åkesson and colleagues tracked the health of 55,987 women and calculated their levels of dietary cadmium exposure using a food survey. Researchers reported 2,112 cases of breast cancer in participants over the 12 years of the study. Overall, they found women with higher levels of cadmium in their diets had a 21-27 percent increase in breast cancer over those with lower levels.