EDFrom the Executive Director

Dear Friends in Prevention,


As the seasons change, we are building upon the momentum after our successful 2014 Against the Tide events and are launching a new campaign, Let's Talk Prevention: Reducing Toxic Exposures.  

This fall we aim to refocus the discussion around Breast Cancer Awareness month, and to cast the rosy glow of October in a more realistic light. Education, advocacy, and research are needed to drive public policy change and affect change for the health and lives of future generations.

The Let's Talk Prevention: Reducing Toxic Exposures program has implications for reducing the burden of all environmentally-linked diseases, including breast cancer.  To support this important public health initiative, the materials will be exhibited at community centers, hospitals, and health centers throughout Massachusetts in 2014 and 2015.  

With the brisk autumn air, w
e are energized to change the legacy of breast cancer -- visiting medical professionals, patients, and communities throughout Massachusetts with a focus on our mission of breast cancer prevention. We hope that you will join us for these engaging and sensible discussions about toxic exposures reduction. 


We hope to see you soon at one of our many events. 



Cheryl Osimo signature
Cheryl Osimo
Executive Director

This October, it's Time to Turn Awareness into Action


If awareness is what is needed to end the breast cancer epidemic it would long be over. Breast cancer has become a buzzword for pretty pink ribbons seen throughout the month of October in the name of raising awareness. In reality, breast cancer is anything but pretty and pink. It is ugly, it is frightening, and it robs the world of the contributions of thousands of women and men year after year. In fact, the American Cancer Society (2010) estimated the global economic costs of premature death and disability from breast cancer to be $88 billion each year.


Today, when breast cancer remains the second most common type of cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States for an estimated 22,200 women and men each year, a systemic change beyond basic awareness is clearly needed.


To change the legacy of breast cancer, awareness and prevention must go hand-in-hand throughout the year. Education, advocacy, and research are needed to drive public policy change and affect change for the health and lives of future generations.


We continue to be contaminated without our consent or public regulation by bioaccumulative and carcinogenic chemicals including but not limited to bisphenol A (BPA), flame retardants, and formaldehyde. We must demand a world in which toxic chemicals are not found in our everyday environments. A focus on higher funding toward prevention would save countless women and their families from having to endure the hardship of a breast cancer diagnosis, painful treatment regimens, and expensive healthcare costs.


Disease prevention is the most cost-effective strategy for saving lives, and yet it is the one with the least public investment and the one that is the least popular. Less than 7% of funds raised in the name of breast cancer (by non-governmental breast cancer organizations, including non-profits) are directed to research and advocacy on primary prevention of breast cancer and examining the role of exposure to environmental contaminants.


Breast cancer prevention means researching and regulating the pesticides, plastics, solvents, and other chemicals leaving residues in our everyday environments. Laboratory studies suggest that many of these chemicals may cause breast tumors, accelerate their growth, or sensitize mammary glands to carcinogens.


A 2012 study published in Environmental Health showed that women in jobs with potentially high exposures to carcinogens and endocrine disruptors had elevated breast cancer risk. These observations, "support hypotheses linking breast cancer risk and exposures likely to include carcinogens and endocrine disruptors."


The ability to measure exposure using biomonitoring and epidemiology related to breast cancer etiology and prevention was shown by a 2014 study published in a National Institute of Health (NIH) journal, Environmental Health Perspectives. While exposure to chemicals that cause mammary gland tumors in rodents is common, few studies have evaluated the potential breast cancer risks of these chemicals in humans.


Breast cancer prevention means following the precautionary principle, which states that evidence of harm, rather than definitive proof of harm, should prompt policy action. The principle also calls for the burden of proof to lie with manufacturers to demonstrate that chemicals are safe, rather than with the public to prove that they cause harm.


The Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition's program, Let's Talk Prevention: Reducing Toxic Exposures, is a project to prevent diseases, like breast cancer, by describing ways to avoid harmful chemicals. This educational program encourages dialogues between health professionals and patients about toxic environmental exposures. This program aims to empower the public to choose safer alternatives to harmful products used daily and to reduce toxic exposures.


Dr. Michael Misialek reviewed the Let's Talk Prevention project materials and concluded that, "As a physician at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, I am pleased to see these resources available for patient-doctor engagement. The value of such a program is not to be minimized. This program will provide much needed information about reducing toxic exposures in daily life to physicians and patients alike. I look forward to promoting doctor-patient discussions concerning the link between health and toxic chemical exposures."


This October, think carefully about your contributions and what exactly they are supporting. Make a contribution you can be proud of. Invest in prevention.


The Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC) is dedicated to preventing environmental causes of breast cancer through community education, research advocacy, and changes to public policy. Make a donation at our website, or mail a donation to the attention of MBCC at 333 Weymouth Street, #13, Rockland, MA 02370.


Thank you for making a difference.  


Nurse and Family



The Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition's Let's Talk Prevention: Reducing Toxic Exposures materials are touring!


Let's Talk Prevention: Reducing Toxic Exposures is an educational program designed by MBCC to facilitate discussions between health professionals and patients about environmental exposures and chemicals of concern through the distribution and use of a one-of-a kind booklet and brochure. The goal of this important public health program to reduce toxic exposures has implications for reducing the burden and cost of all environmentally-linked diseases, including breast cancer. 


The Let's Talk Prevention: Reducing Toxic Exposure tour can be tailored to the specific needs of a community and can include: community outreach table in a lobby/oncology office, exhibition at a health and wellness fair, speaking engagements and lectures, special events, private events, and hospital staff meetings. In September, the materials were on display at the Cancer Survivorship Conference at Tufts New England Medical Center. 

UMass Boston Student and MBCC intern Leslie Perez exhibits Let's Talk Prevention materials at Tufts Medical Center on September 13th

Visit our Let's Talk Prevention tour website to learn more about additional tour locations, to download the medical booklet for health professionals and the brochure (in Spanish and English) for patients, and to see when the program will be coming to a location near you. 


If you would like a hospital, health center, community center, library, or college near you to exhibit Let's Talk Prevention, host a presentation about toxic exposures reduction, and share our materials, please email us with the subject line, "Let's Talk Prevention Tour."


Research Updates Video Series
The latest video in this series features Dr. Cathie Ragovin, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC) former Board President and Silent Spring Institute Board Member. She reflects on the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition's early years and her involvement with breast cancer prevention advocacy.  The video also includes tips about how you can take action to support breast cancer prevention.  

Rallying for Breast Cancer: What Can We Do?

Become an advocate for prevention by clicking the image above to watch and share the video!

Click here to watch other videos in the series.
Practice Prevention Today: NSTAR update NSTAR
We shouldn't be forced to accept any threat to our water supply or our health, especially if it can be avoided. Prevention of cancer was cited by Rachel Carson in Silent Spring as "the imperative need." Prevention is paramount, and we can all make simple contributions to this end. Consider halting utility herbicide spraying as an opportunity in prevention.

The electric utility NSTAR recently published its plans for herbicide spraying under their easements (aka rights-of-way or ROWs). This list includes 9 Cape towns and 3 Vineyard towns. NSTAR sprays its transmission line easements on private and public lands throughout their service area which encompasses eastern, central, and southeastern Massachusetts including Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard -- in many cases without the knowledge or consent of the land owners. 


There is potential for the pesticides and "other" ingredients in the NSTAR herbicides to become the next Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs) in our water supplies in the future, if they aren't there already. CECs are synthetic or naturally occurring chemicals that are not commonly monitored in the environment, but have the potential to enter the environment and cause adverse effects. Since CECs are usually unregulated chemicals, they are rarely tested in water supplies, so there is minimal data on their occurrence in drinking water but possible implications for human health and the environment.

Senator Dan Wolf's (D-Harwich) office reports that NSTAR will delay spraying on Cape Cod until the fall with no activity planned in 2014 for Martha's Vineyard. This is the result of our Call to Action to stop spraying. 

That's a good start but "delay" is not "no spray!" We must demand that electric utilities adopt a "no-spray" policy statewide. Now is not the time to back the pressure off NSTAR and its regulator, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR). Work with your state representatives for safer alternatives to ROW spraying in your area. 

Should we be forced to accept any risk to our water supply and our health when it can be avoided? NSTAR has successfully utilized simple cutting and mowing of ROWS in the past. They can and should revert back to those practices. Join us in halting this unnecessary spraying of private and public lands and water supplies throughout the state and beyond. NSTAR's bottom line is profit, whereas ours -- and yours -- is health. What would Rachel Carson have done?


Click here for the full NSTAR update, including immediate actions you can take to prevent NSTAR spraying in your community. 

Submitted by Sue Phelan (info@GreenCAPE.org 
or 508.362.5927)


The Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition is proud to announce our 2015 Against the Tide Event Chairs to support our 2015 Against the Tide fundraising events. We are honored to be working with passionate and dedicated advocates. We look forward to the fresh ideas that each chairwoman will contribute in support of breast cancer prevention!


The Against the Tide Head Chairwoman is Ms. Nancy Murphy. Joining Ms. Murphy as Against the Tide 2015 Event Chairwomen are: 

  • Ms. Trinity Peacock of Jamaica Plain
  • Ms. Cara Schilione of Cape Cod
  • Ms. Mary Alice O'Connor of Hopkinton
  • Ms. Cheryl Reeve of Sturbridge
  • Ms. Amanda Beucler, UMass Dartmouth student and Cape Cod resident
  • Ms. Sandra Miller of Westboro 
  • Ms. Lisa Fortuna of Melrose
  • Ms. Michele Porche of Melrose

Save the dates for our 2015 Against the Tide events! The Boston area event will be on June 20, 2015 and the Cape Cod event will be on August 15, 2015. We hope you will join us alongside our event chairs, volunteers, sponsors, and participants for a wonderful and meaningful fundraiser.

In this Issue



Tip to Reduce Your ExposureTips

Phthalates are used in soft plastics including shower curtains, fragrances, toiletries, and cosmetics.

To reduce exposure, avoid pliable plastic products, and opt for cloth shower curtains instead of vinyl.

Take shorter showers to limit inhalation of airborne chemicals and reduce skin absorption of chemicals from water and shower products. 

Tip provided by: Let's Talk Prevention: Reducing Toxic Exposures, an educational program to increase discussions about environmental exposures between health professionals and patients. 

Environmental Health News



EPA Cleanups and Toxins that are left behind



New Study: Third Gene identified as Strong Indicator for Breast Cancer Risk



New Study: guidelines for reporting individual results for bio-monitoring and environmental exposures 



Limited to no benefit to longevity in patients who undergo preventative mastectomies 



Environmental Health Perspectives: Priorities for Breast Cancer Research

Senator Schumer (NY) proposes ban on ten flame retardants

Upcoming EventsEvents

Follow our blog to learn more about these events as they approach.
Silent Spring Institute Research Update
October 9, 2014
Let's Talk Prevention Tour: Audre Lorde Brunch 
October 25, 2014
Festival of Giving Trees 
Event and Lecture 
December 5, 2014
Lesbians and Friends Dance January 24, 2015

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About MBCC

The Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC) is dedicated to preventing environmental causes of breast cancer through community education, research advocacy, and changes to public policy. MBCC is the only education and advocacy non-profit in the country working closely with an environmental research organization toward breast cancer prevention. Thank you for supporting our efforts toward breast cancer prevention. Learn more.

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333 Weymouth Street#13 Rockland, MA 02370 

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