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Sara Lee Bread Tested Positive For Malathion

The pesticide involved in the etiology of breast cancer

HealthyLivinG Foundation (HLF) tested major bread brands for chemical toxins. Among six brands of bread tested, only Sara Lee whole wheat bread contained malathion.

Malathion, an organophosphorous pesticide used to control a wide range of sucking and chewing pests of field crops, may be involved in the etiology of breast cancers, say researchers in Oncology Reports. What’s more, malathion, a mediocre carcinogen by potency standards, becomes supercharged in the presence of the female hormone.[i]  

Results indicated estrogen alone increased average number of cancer lobules (glands that make milk) and malathion singly “significantly increased the number of ducts in stage of proliferation…. Furthermore, markers for cancer detection such as mutant p53, c-myc, c-fos and CYPs proteins were overexpressed after treatments.“The combination of malathion and estrogen synergistically increased number of lobules and ducts… inducing mammary cancer. It can be concluded that combination of an environmental substance such as the pesticide malathion and an endogenous substance such as estrogen can enhance the deleterious effects in human mammary glands inducing cancer….”

Speaking of malathion and estrogen, “It is important to consider the impact of such substances when they are present in combination,” says a report. When it comes to breast cancer  “results showed that estrogen combined with either malathion or parathion altered cell proliferation and induced cell transformation as well as exhibited significant invasive capabilities as compared to the control….”

Several cancer genes were up-regulated by the effect of all of the treatments. The c-Ha-ras oncogene was up-regulated by the effect of malathion alone and with the combination of estrogen and either malathion or parathion. ”Thus, we suggest that pesticides and estrogens affect human breast cells inducing molecular changes indicative of transformation.” [ii]


 [i] Calaf GM, Echiburú-Chau C. Synergistic effect of malathion and estrogen on mammary gland carcinogenesis. Oncol Rep. 2012 Aug;28(2):640-6. doi: 10.3892/or.2012.1817. Epub 2012 May 17.


[ii] Calaf GM, Roy D. Cancer genes induced by malathion and parathion in the presence of estrogen in breast cells. Int J Mol Med. 2008 Feb;21(2):261-8.