By Laura Weinberg
This year, the Annual Early Environmental
Exposures Conference was hosted in Birmingham, Alabama.
Regina Roofeh, from Great Neck North High School and Karolina
Woronieck, from Great Neck South High School, received scholarships
to attend this two-day conference. Accompanying them to
the conference were Laura Weinberg, president of the Great
Neck Breast Cancer Coalition (GNBCC) and Colette Thaw, GNBCC's
secretary and science advisor.
At the Birmingham conference, Regina and Karolina, alumnae
of GNBCC's Students and Scientists Breast Cancer/Environmental
Research Program, submitted a poster of their summer 2008
internship at the Ana Soto Laboratory of Tufts University
Medical School. During the poster presentation, they explained
to national researchers and advocates the adverse health
effects of Bisphenol A, an "estrogen mimicking"
chemical found in baby bottles, plastic drinking bottles,
the lining of food cans, infant formula cans and certain
dental sealants. According to researchers, our lifetime
exposure to estrogen increases our risk of being diagnosed
with breast cancer.
Also accompanying GNBCC to Birmingham, were three summer
scholarship students sponsored by the Huntington Breast
Cancer Action Coalition and their program director, Lisa
Kratter, and Karen Miller, president of HBCAC. Modeled by
the GNBCC Students and Scientists Scholarship Program, Zach
Rotter, Emily Lopes and Shirou Wu interned at the Fox Chase
Cancer Center in Philadelphia in summer 2008.
All five high school students from GNBCC and HBCAC received
certificates of merit and honorable mention at the conference
for their outstanding posters.
The Breast Cancer Environmental Research Centers is a seven
year research initiative federally funded by the National
Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the
National Cancer Institute (NCI). Teams of scientists, clinicians
and breast cancer advocates from four national centers are
studying the impact of prenatal-to-adult environmental exposures
that may predispose a woman to breast cancer. The four participating
national research centers are located in Princeton, New
Jersey; East Lansing, Michigan; Cincinnati, and San Francisco.
In the past four years, members of the Great Neck Breast
Cancer Coalition have attended the past four Centers' conferences
which have taken place in Princeton, East Lansing, San Francisco,
and Cincinnati. Alumnae from the GNBCC high school student
scholarship program from Great Neck South and North High
Schools have attended the Michigan and Cincinnati conferences
As participants at the breast cancer/environmental conference,
we heard presentations from two dozen scientists regarding
their ongoing research on environmental exposures and the
vulnerable period of pre-pubescence. The chemicals, Bisphenol
A (recycle #7 plastic), PFOA, found in Teflon products,
phthalates (plasticizers) and dioxin were a few of the exposures
discussed. The keynote speaker, Dr. Andreas Kortencamp,
from the University of London, discussed our increased "estrogen-load"
from the combination of "estrogenic chemicals"
to which we are exposed from certain pesticides, plastics,
household cleaners and cosmetic ingredients.
For more information on the Breast Cancer Environmental
Research Centers (BCERC) visit www.bcerc.org. For more information
on the Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition's Students/Scientists
Scholarship Program and other programs, visit www.greatneckbcc.org.