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Exploring chemical exposures for California’s women workers

CBCRP announces the launch of a new tool to explore chemical exposures faced by California women in their workplaces that may be linked to breast cancer.

Women – particularly women of color – have been vastly underrepresented in research into the risks of cancer that may be associated with workplace exposures. An estimated 80,000 chemicals are used in U.S. commerce, offering substantial opportunities for occupational exposures. While only a small fraction of these chemicals have been tested to see if they cause cancer, at least 200 have been shown to cause mammary tumors in animals. The potential role of these compounds in the development of breast cancer in humans has historically been understudied and remains poorly understood.

To address these gaps in knowledge about the risks of cancer associated with workplace chemical exposures, CBCRP is funding the Women’s Occupations and Risks from Chemicals (WORC) project: a team of epidemiology and occupational health experts at the Public Health Institute, the California Department of Public Health, and University of California San Francisco, led by Robert Harrison and Peggy Reynolds. An important first step towards understanding breast cancer risks associated with occupational exposures is to map out what women’s employment looks like in California and what chemical exposures are likely to occur in the jobs where substantial numbers of women work.

The WORC project has created an interactive tool to visualize existing data on women’s occupational exposures and identify data gaps. The visualization allows the user to explore exposures by occupation, ethnicity/race, and age.

Explore the visualization about Exploring chemical exposures for California’s women workers
partial screenshot of the worker exposure visualization