I’ve also been banging on for years about the close connection between wearing bras and breast cancer as pointed out by Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer in their 1995 book, Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras.
Quick summary of their findings in case you’ve not come across this yet:
According to the authors, wearing a bra can cause all manner of unpleasantness. It seems that ladies who wear bras for more than twelve hours each day except for bed are twenty-one times more likely to get breast cancer than those who wear bras less than twelve hours per day. Those who wear bras even in bed are one hundred and twenty-five times more likely to get breast cancer than those who don’t wear bras at all!
These findings have been disputed but never invalidated, and more recent studies, such as a 2009 Chinese study that found that not sleeping in a bra dropped a woman’s risk of breast cancer by 60%, have reinforced the initial findings (1). Now it appears that there is a new (new to me anyway) problem with bras. Particularly under-wired bras. And this time it’s a result of our always-on, bluetooth, wifi society and our addiction to cell phones.
It’s the microwave bra.
(Electric) storm in a D cup
Having something metal close to your skin when electrons are shooting about has never been a good idea.
In 1999, two women were out and about in London when a massive bolt of lightning hit the metal under-wiring in one of the lady’s bra, which acted as a conductor and killed them both. And in 1994 a woman named Berbel Zumner was killed in exactly the same bizarre way while walking through a park in Vienna.
Most recently though it seems that you don’t have to wait for the one-in-30000 chance of being hit by a lightning strike to get killed by your bra. Our modern environment will do the job for you.
Nearly all of the underwire in bras are made of metal. Metal acts as an antenna which will attract, conduct and intensify electromagnetic fields (Emfs). Emfs are the invisible force fields that radiate in all directions from any electrical source, and since The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic you can understand that this is NOT a good thing. The danger comes primarily from the high frequency emfs produced by cell towers, Wi-Fi, TV and radio stations and cell phones, but all electrical appliances produce emfs to some extent.
Emfs are, and always have been, produced naturally—sunlight is part of the electromagnetic spectrum for instance—but they have been a benign background radiation with which we’ve evolved and probably need for our well-being. However, in the hundred years or so that we’ve started using electricity, and especially in the last couple of decades of massively increasing cell-phone usage, there are a million times more emfs bouncing around the environment than before Edison flicked the switch and lit up the world.
Precisely how and why these swirling emfs pose such a threat to our breast health is very complicated and, indeed barely comprehensible to a laylady like me, but I think I’ve grasped the main points of the science. As I understand it the problem is to do with the effect of emfs on melatonin secretion. The theory goes something like this:
- Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland. It is an astonishing hormone: it regulates our circadian rhythms (governing our waking/sleep cycle) and it is one of the most efficient destroyers of free radicals, thereby allowing DNA synthesis and cell division to occur. Melatonin not only inhibits the release of estrogen but also actually suppresses the development of breast cancer. So powerful is it in this role that researchers in Spain recently published a study detailing the possible use of melatonin in breast cancer prevention and treatment. (2)
- At least seven recent studies have shown that exposure to emfs at levels which can be found in homes and offices near transmission lines or with faulty wiring, or near large electrical appliances or electric panels, reduce the protective effect of melatonin on human breast cancer cells.
- In other words, electromagnetic fields diminish our body’s ability to prevent breast cancer.
- The metal in an under-wired bra acts as an antenna which attracts and amplifies electromagnetic fields. It draws these harmful and destructive waves into our body and makes them stronger.
- And yet we’re wearing these antenna right under, and sometimes in direct contact with, the area most at risk. In some cases even tucking our cellphones into our bras. For goodness sake!
Positive and Negative
In the interests of fairness I should point out that there is a great deal of controversy about the ill effects or otherwise of emfs, not just on breast cancer but human health as a whole. The most basic internet search will bring up a vast and bewildering array of contradictory facts, studies, opinions, vested interests, charlatanism, disinformation and conspiracy theories. It will make your brain buzz, so let me summarise the situation for you.
The mainstream line (from public health agencies like the World Health Organisation, Public Health England and most of the others) is that there is no conclusive proof that emfs in normal amounts damage your health.
The findings of nearly all of the independent studies, on the other hand, conclude that there is a very definite health risk associated with exposure to emfs, particularly high- and radio-frequency emfs from things like our cell phones.
So who do we believe, and, more importantly what do we do about it?
It may help to consider the following:
Firstly, public health agencies do not have particularly good record in identifying, regulating and informing us about health dangers which have been created by big business—read into that what you will. The tobacco, aerosol, sugar, asbestos and other industries all successfully lobbied for years to have their products declared safe, despite overwhelming independent evidence to the contrary. Eventually, after years of prevarication and who knows how many deaths, the agencies were forced to admit that these thing were, indeed, deadly. Why should the case be different for the electric companies and their emfs?
Secondly, even the mainstream agencies are hedging their bets. Phrases like more studies are needed, insufficient length of time and inconclusive litter their conclusions like beer cans on a beach. We’ve seen the WHO say that emfs are possibly carcinogenic, and here’s what the UK’s own health agency says about breast cancer, melatonin and emfs:
“Investigations using cell, animal and humans have not given consistent or convincing evidence that EMF exposure affects melatonin production or action. However there are deficiencies in the existing research, which leave open the possibility of an effect.”
Think about it. What they’re all really saying is “We think it’s safe, but we’re not really sure. Let’s wait and see.”
Thirdly, however much the experts vacillate, good old common sense should tell us that drowning ourselves in an artificial electro-soup is bound to interfere with our natural, electrically stimulated biochemistry. It makes sense to take protective action now. Remember the saying about stable doors and bolting horses? Don’t wait for the public health experts. They don’t have a good record.
Unhook that Bra!
Whoever is right and whoever is wrong, the first thing I suggest you do, right now is to get that bra off. There are very few good arguments for wearing one, and many reasons not to, which maybe we’ll discuss another day. This is just one more good justification for getting it off your chest.
If you’re embarrassed about pokies you can wear something loose, but honestly, why bother? Isn’t your health more important than what you think other people may think. And anyway, what’s wrong with people seeing that you’re a normal woman?
You might also want to consider limiting your cell-phone use, and finding out a bit more about the dangers of emfs.
But, first, please, please, don’t wait for the science to be proved.
Get it off, and leave it off.
Honestly you won’t regret it, and you may just save your life.
1) Zhang, A et al. (2009). Risk Factors of Breast Cancer in Women in Guangdong and the Countermeasures. Nan Fang Yi Ke Da Xue Xue Bao, 29(7), 1451-1453.
2) Histol Histopathol 2000 Apr;15(2):637-47