Women whose diets are higher in cadmium are more likely to develop breast cancer, according to a new study released today by the American Association for Cancer Research. Cadmium is a heavy metal that seeps into crops through fertilizer, rainfall, and sewage, and is most often found in whole grains, potatoes, other vegetables, and shellfish, the LA Times explains. While it's long been known to be a carcinogen, this study bolsters the argument that environmental pollutants are linked to rising breast cancer rates.
The study looked at 55,987 post-menopausal women, and found that the third with the highest cadmium intake were 21% more likely to develop breast cancer, though experts note that the study doesn't prove a causal link. The study comes three months after one that downplayed the environmental pollutants hypothesis, saying breast cancer was more likely linked to things within a woman's control, such as obesity and hormone-replacement medication. Today's study, however, found no increase in cancer rates among obese women with higher cadmium exposure. (Read more cadmium stories.)