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The Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. KIND. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to stand with the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) and the three million women living with breast cancer in the country today and urge all my colleagues to push for passage of the Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act (H.R. 2231) by the end of this year.

The bill authorizes $30 million a year for five years to establish multi-institutional, multidisciplinary centers. The centers would include institutions with different areas of expertise working together to look at different aspects of the issue. Furthermore, this bill would create a new mechanism for environmental health research, and provide a unique process by which up to eight research centers are developed to study environmental factors and their impact on breast cancer. Modeled after the DOD Breast Cancer Research Program, which has been so successful, it would include consumer advocates in the peer review and programmatic review process.

This federal commitment is critical for the overall, national strategy and the long-term research investments needed to discover the environmental causes of breast cancer, so that we can prevent it, treat it more effectively, and cure it. It is generally believed that the environment plays some role in the development of breast cancer, but the extent of that role is not understood. More research needs to be done to determine the impact of the environment on breast cancer, which has been understudied in the past.

Fewer than 30 percent of breast cancers are explained by known risk factors; however, there is little consensus in the scientific community on how the environment impacts breast cancer. Studies have explored the effect of isolated environmental factors such as diet, pesticides, and electromagnetic fields, but in most cases there is no conclusive evidence. Furthermore, there are many other factors that are suspected to play a role but have not been fully studied. These could provide valuable in understanding the causes of breast cancer and could lead to prevention strategies.

We need to enact this bill this year, and I urge my colleagues to cosponsor this bill and bring it to the House Floor for a vote.

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