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April 20, 1994

Organochlorines, Breast Cancer, and GATT

Author Affiliations

Naples Neurological Associates Naples, Fla

JAMA. 1994;271(15):1160-1161. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510390030022

To the Editor.  —Breast cancer, which now affects one in eight American women, must truly be regarded as a modern epidemic. This year 180 000 American women will be diagnosed as having this disease and a third of them will die of it. In the past two decades, breast cancer has claimed the lives of more American women than the total fatalities of the Korean War, the Vietnam War, World War I, and World War II combined.Recent evidence strongly supports the relationship between tissue levels of organochlorines like dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and the incidence of breast cancer, with some studies showing as much as a fourfold increase in the relative risk of breast cancer in women with high organochlorine compound concentrations.1,2,3Metabolites of DDT have been noted to be 50% to 60% higher in breast cancer patient specimens compared with controls (P<.04).4The US government, hoping to

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