Endocrine Disruptors in the Workplace: The Case of Women and Automotive Plastics Manufacturing

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Wed, 2012-09-12 06:00

The webinar recording is now online! View the webinar here  (64 minutes).

Wednesday, September 12, 11 a.m. to noon, EST

A free event presented by the Canadian Women's Health Network and the National Network on Environments and Women's Health.

Invited Speakers:
Sari Sairanen, Canadian Auto Workers
James Brophy and Margaret Keith - chief researchers, "Women, Plastics and Breast Cancer Project"
Gina Desantis - auto worker, Windsor ON

Anne Rochon Ford, Executive Director, CWHN

Canada has among the highest rates of breast cancer in the world. The breast cancer risk to women workers, especially those in blue collar jobs, has been largely overlooked by scientists. In addition, workers and their organizations have not received much support in understanding the risks associated with working with chemicals and in taking steps to prevent harm. Addressing this gap, a team of researchers has been examining the occupational breast cancer risk for women working in the automotive sector in the Windsor area, a highly industrial region of Southwestern Ontario. Animal studies have demonstrated that rates of breast cancer are higher in those exposed to certain chemicals, particularly those that can disrupt the endocrine system. There is a growing body of epidemiological evidence showing that humans are likewise affected.

Endocrine disruptors, thought to play a role in breast cancer, and carcinogens are present in many occupational environments. Exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals can be particularly significant for women during certain key windows of vulnerability. Such chemicals can be released during various plastics processing procedures, such as heating, pouring, grinding, assembly and decorating.

The invited researchers, working with colleagues at the National Network on Environments and Women's Health, will speak about their research, and for the critical need for more attention to this area of study.

To learn more about this issue, please see:

Our recent Network article, Not a Flower Shop: Exploring breast cancer risk and gender bias in the automotive plastics parts industry by Mary-Louise Leidl.

National Network on Environments and Women's Health

Plastic invasion: The consequences of convenience on the human body 

Our Stolen Future

State of the Evidence 2010: The Connection Between Breast Cancer and the Environment


A review of this webinar was recently published in CAND Vital Link, the magazine of the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors. Find it here.



Presentation by Sari Sairanen.pdf1.01 MB
Presentation by J. Brophy & M. Keith part 1.pdf3.64 MB
Presentation by J. Brophy & M. Keith part 2.pdf7.59 MB