Skip to main content

Breast cancer's relationship to pesticides, diet and policy will be explored in Cornell toxicology symposium Sept. 29-30

Representatives of the scientific, medical and corporate communities, as well as policy-makers, risk communicators and the general public are expected to attend a symposium Sept. 29-30 at Cornell on "The Science that Drives Policy: Pesticides, Diet and Breast Cancer Risk."

Participants will attempt to formulate recommendations in three areas: Determining cancer risk, including the role of estrogenic pesticides to breast cancer; communicating risks, including "right-to-know" issues about pesticide residues in food and making food choices that may reduce cancer risk; and development of policy options.

The meeting's keynote address, "The Real Breast Cancer Risks: Getting the Right Word Out," will be given during the symposium banquet the evening of Sept. 30 by Jane E. Brody, the "Personal Health" columnist at The New York Times.

Other speakers include Graham Colditz of Harvard University, "What Women Can Do to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer"; Marilie Gammon of Columbia University, "Pesticides and Breast Cancer Risk"; Banoo Parpia of Cornell, "Nutrition and Breast Cancer: Results from the Cornell-China-Oxford Project"; Jo Freudenheim, State Universisity of New York at Buffalo, "Vegetables, Fruits and Associated Nutrients: Relationship to Breast Cancer"; Nancy Potischman, National Cancer Institute, "Early Life Exposures and Risk of Breast Cancer"; and Joseph Hotchkiss, Cornell, "Pesticide Residue Tolerances in Food: the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act." Other topics will include "Testing Pesticides for Estrogenicity" and "Cancer Risk Assessment."

The symposium, which begins at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 29 at the Triphammer Lodge and Conference Center in Ithaca, is organized by the Cornell University Institute for Comparative and Environmental Toxicology (ICET), a unit of the Cornell Center for the Environment. It is supported in part by Texaco Inc. and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. through their membership in CUPCET, the Cornell University Program in Comparative and Environmental Toxicology.

"This symposium is not just for scientists," said Suzanne M. Snedeker, project leader for Cornell's Program on Breast Cancer and Environmental Risk Factors in New York State. "Anyone who is interested in wrestling with issues of how we determine whether pesticides affect breast cancer risk or who cares about the level of contaminants in our food supply, as well as the role of diet in lowering the risk of breast cancer, will find plenty to interest them. We also will have workgroup sessions after the talks so those attending the conference can discuss a variety of policy issues like the recent legislation mandating that pesticides be screened for their estrogenic potential."

"This program is novel in its attempt to integrate breast cancer risk and both endogenous chemicals (the dietary factors) and exogenous chemicals (food contaminants)," said Rodney R. Dietert, the director of ICET and professor of immunogenetics at Cornell. "Few, if any conferences have dealt with these factors in the same venue despite the fact that risk-reduction strategies must eventually address all aspects of food-related chemical exposure."

Symposium registration is $125 with a discount for early registration. More information is available from ICET, 215 Rice Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. 14853-5601. Phone (607) 255-8008; fax (607) 255-8207; Email <>.

EDITORS: A limited number of complimentary registrations for accredited news media are available. Please contact the Cornell News Service, (607) 255-3290, for more information or for abstracts of presentations.