Calls for an investigation of the high rates of breast cancer at Canadian Toll Bridge

Researchers have found what is believed to be a cluster of breast cancer cases among women who work or have worked on the Ambassador Bridge, Canada. The bridge which spans between the USA and Windsor in Canada, is a toll bridge employing customs officers.

Jane McArthur, a University of Windsor PhD candidate in sociology and social justice, was studying women’s knowledge of breast cancer risks, interviewing 25 customs and duty-free shop workers when she heard there may be 10 to 20 or more cases of breast cancer in the last 20 years.

The Customs and Immigration Union reacted by joining Jane McArthur in a call for an investigation, funded by the employer, the Canadian Border Services Agency. The issue has been a concern for years with the Customs and Immigration Union which is part of PSAC (Public Service Alliance of Canada).

Jane McArthur, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology at University of Windsor said the women interviewed wondered about the effect of the vehicle exhaust, stress and shift work had on their risk of breast cancer. Research suggests air pollution and vehicle exhaust are associated with an elevated risk of breast cancer, she said.

McArthur is hoping a further study could document how many and what type of breast cancers were found, and encourage policies that would mitigate the work exposure at the new bridge. The study would also be important for compensation for women with breast cancer if it is linked to their work.

Newspaper article from the Windsor Star on the findings.

Poster presentation by Jane McArthur on her Investigations into Womens Narratives of Breast Cancer presented to the 4th International Cancer Research Conference hosted by the Windsor Cancer Research Group on November 19, in Windsor, Ontario.


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