Ann Conkle
Mar 15, 2012

Cadmium in diet linked with breast cancer risk

Dietary cadmium, a toxic metal widely dispersed in the environment and found in many farm fertilizers, may lead to an increased risk of breast cancer, according to a study published in Cancer Research. Cadmium occurs at low concentrations naturally, but scientists are concerned because contamination of farmland mainly due to atmospheric deposition and use of fertilizers leads to higher uptake in plants. “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.” Both estrogen receptor-positive and negative tumors had the same risk increase at roughly 23 percent. Åkesson said that women who consumed higher amounts of whole grains and vegetables had a lower risk of breast cancer compared to women exposed to dietary cadmium through other foods.