Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Lowell & Boston University recently concluded in an updated scientific review, Environmental and Occupational Causes of Cancer: New Evidence, 2005-2007, that mounting evidence linking unintentional exposures to toxins in our workplaces and general environment contribute to the nearly one and a half million new cases of cancer in the U.S. in just 2007 alone.

The report synthesizes the recent peer-reviewed scientific literature and finds compelling new evidence linking cancer with specific exposures, namely:

  • Breast cancer from exposure to the pesticide DDT before puberty;
  • Leukemia from exposure to 1,3-butadiene;
  • Lung cancer from exposure to air pollution;
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma from exposure to pesticides and solvents;
  • Prostate cancer from exposure to pesticides and metal working fluids;
  • Brain cancer from exposure to non-ionizing radiation; and
  • A range of cancers from exposure to pesticides based on early findings from the Agricultural Health Study


The report also summarizes the multi-factorial, multi-stage nature of cancer causation and underscores the need to develop a new cancer prevention paradigm in the U.S., one that is based on an understanding that cancer is caused by multiple interacting factors and not single agents.

Link to the report (UMass Lowell website) 

Link to the original 2005 report

This report builds upon the 2005 review of 30 years of scientific evidence documenting associations between carcinogens in workplaces, schools, and homes and certain cancers. Both reports were commissioned by the Collaborative on Health and the Environment and supported by foundation grants.