Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
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Calcium and magnesium in drinking water and the risk of death from breast cancer
Yang, C. Y., Chiu, H. F., Cheng, M. F., Hsu, T. Y., Cheng, M. F., Wu, T. N. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2000. 60:4, 231-41.
Topic area
Environmental pollutant - Drinking water, calcium, magnesium
Study design
Other: Ecologic epidemiology
Funding agency
Other: National Science Council, Taiwan
Study Participants
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
252 municipalities in Taiwan
Exposures investigated
Calcium, magnesium in drinking water categorized into tertiles of 1990 annual mean level in finished drinking water
How exposure was measured
Environmental sample
Statistical Analysis
Breast cancer outcome investigated
Mortality from breast cancer: municipality rate
Ethnic groups with separate analysis
If this study provided a separate analysis by ethnic or racial group, the groups are listed here.
Confounders considered
Other breast cancer risk factors, such as family history, age at first birth, and hormone replacement therapy use, that were taken into account in the study.
1971 fertility for females aged 20-24, urbanization
Genetic characterization included
If the study analyzed relationships between environmental factors and inherited genetic variations, this field will be marked “Yes.” “No”, if not.
Description of major analysis
Multiple regression
Strength of associations reported
Adjusted risk ratio highest to lowest tertile calcium 0.87 (0.81-0.93); magnesium 0.85 (0.79-0.90)
Results Comments
Calcium and magnesium associated with lower mortality. Authors characterize the population as having low mobility. Water is a small source relative to diet, but may differ in availability. No dose-response. Authors characterize water levels of calcium and magnesium as stable over many years.
Author address
Institute of Public Health, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. chunyuh@cc.kmu.edu.tw