Dear Friend,

logoWelcome to our multimedia website on ‘Environmental Risks and Breast Cancer’. This project represents the collaborative efforts of faculty, students and technical professionals at Vassar College, all working together on a product aimed to inform women and men about the often ignored information about relationships between environmental factors and breast cancer. We have tried to make a product that is attractive, easy to navigate, informative at several levels, and practical. We want you to understand the complexity of breast cancer and its risks, without becoming scared or blaming yourself if you have or have had the disease. While we can’t promise to prevent cancer or cure it, we believe that understanding the complexities of risk surrounding this disease may lead to personal and community choices that, in the long run, may reverse the trend towards ever more women and men being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Hazards and risks are a daily part of life. The information outlined in this project is not meant to discourage or scare you. Rather, we believe that every person has the right to make informed choices and to have the opportunity to learn about both the benefits and the risks of the activities in which they are engaged. In our world, it is impossible to avoid all risks, and reassuringly, not every exposure to most risks will have a negative effect. Nevertheless, scientific studies have suggested that, over time, the combined exposures to a number of factors discussed in this project may account for a considerable portion of the current high rate of breast cancer. We argue that, when possible, it is worthwhile to look for less harmful alternatives.

Every individual has a right to a clean, life-sustaining environment. We hope to encourage you to become more knowledgeable of your surroundings, to be a conscious consumer, to be informed of the possible risks, and to make choices that make sense for you. We hope that reading, watching and listening to this site will help you to think differently about your daily activities and to make decisions that can lead to greater health for you, your families and your communities, while also helping to protect the fragile environment in which live.

We invite you to take your time as you navigate this project. There is a lot of information, several video animations, and loads of practical suggestions. These practical suggestions can also be downloaded from our website.

For those who want to know more, there is an extensive bibliography and links to other sources. If you need help navigating the site, there is a user’s guide that is available simply by clicking on the question mark icon in the upper right corner of the screen.

If you have questions, concerns or comments, please feel free to contact us. In the meantime, we are honored you have taken some time to share in our adventure.


Janet M. Gray, Ph.D.

Professor, Vassar College