Tag Archives: Body Image

Breasts: An Endangered Specie

I’m beginning to think that a certain part of the female anatomy should be added to the list of endangered species. Why do I say this?

First of all, I do not wish to approach this subject from the perception of body imaging. August McLaughlin did a wonderful job on this topic already this week with her post, “Body Image: Exploring Myths & Walking the Walk.”

No, my reason for saying this has more to do with our environment, both physical and in nature. I read a review the other day about a book that was recently release by a woman named Florence Williams. Then after finishing it I thought I would share with you some of the highlights.

One out of every eight women today will develop breast cancer in their life and more than 5 million women have had implants. That’s quite a staggering statistic, wouldn’t you say?

Although I have lived among two high income communities in my life that exude all things augmented, as if a teenage girl’s rite into the throngs of womanhood should include an emboldened pair of new breasts, this is not what I wish to focus on. Yet, to those woman who have fought the fine fight and won their battle with that dastardly evil malignancy, I am happy that modern science has had a positive restorative affect on your bodies. 🙂

It seems that whether we are man or woman, we love those glandular beauties known as breasts, yet we don’t take them seriously enough. Florence writes, “We name them affectionately, but with a hint of insult. Breasts embarrass us. They’re unpredictable. They’re goofy. They can turn both babies and grown men into lunkheads.”

Okay, those were her words, not mine!

Breasts feed us, nurture us and excite us. But the most versatile organ in the female body can also kill us. They are made up of fat and estrogen receptors— so they “soak up pollution like a pair of soft sponges.” Williams, an award-winning science writer, investigates why breasts are assaulted equally by men and a rising number of chemicals in the environment.

Ms. Williams, 45, who now has an eight year old daughter was inspired to write her book when she agreed to participate in a study of her breast milk while she was nursing her daughter. The results were shocking— her milk was full of chemicals, from pesticides to flame retardants.

Say what?

“There were reports about toxic and chemical contaminants showing up in breast milk—it was a great way to tell the story first-person,” she told ABCNews.com. “I realized there was so much about breasts people don’t know.” Now Florence worries about research that shows girls are beginning puberty and developing breasts younger, perhaps because of exposure to pollutants. “There are hundreds of chemicals coursing through our blood,” she said.

I don’t know about all of you but to me this is scary stuff. As a Mother I know that it was important to me to give my baby the best start in life and had made the decision to breast feed my children when they were born. After all, according to Ms. Williams, mother’s milk is “always the right temperature; it has the correct balance of lipids, proteins and sugars. It is medicinal, nutritious, and, to a baby, delicious.” But to find out about this chemical information I guess was just a little more shocking than I had anticipated.

Her study also includes a phenomenon not considered before: Breast milk contains a substance comparable to marijuana and is sold on the Internet in the neighborhood of 262 times the price of crude oil.

Why are we always forced to pay more for something that’s supposed to be healthy?

But her biggest concern is the vulnerability of breasts with cancer rates doubling since the 1940s. She can’t say for a certainty that chemicals in the environment cause breast cancer, but she says that the breast is the one organ in the body that is not fully developed until adulthood or even the last trimester of pregnancy.

“For many years, breast cells are interchangeable and more vulnerable and so are susceptible,” she said. Girls who go through puberty earlier are also at greater risk for breast cancer as adults. “We don’t know why,” she said.


I thought that this point was interesting: In Europe chemicals must be proven safe before entering the marketplace. But according to Ms. Williams, “We have the opposite in the U.S. and don’t take them off the market until they are proven harmful.”

The article ended this way: Advances in science give reason for optimism, but “regulatory agencies and the public in general are generally blind to where science is. Our bodies are intimately connected to the world around us,” said Williams. “If we live in an environment filled with pollution, these things will and do affect our health.”

Whatever our personal viewpoint is on this subject, I think it’s safe to say that the breasts we are born with, whether man or woman, are under assault and at risk of becoming an endangered specie. How many of us have or know someone whose been affected by Breast cancer? Or cancer period?

There’s just too many of us!

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to go re-read my article, “Sexy as a Rockstar” and start eating more of that bad boy Kale and detox once I finish writing this post! 🙂

So what do you think? What is your personal feeling about this subject? Have you or someone you love been affected by Breast cancer? And what do you think about our toxic environment? And how has it affected you?

Thank you everyone for dropping by and for all your wonderful comments!


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