18 PHAs


Polyaromatic hydrocarbons, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and heterocyclic amines have been found to suppress the immune system and increase the risk of breast cancer. Exposure early in life appears to increase the risk for breast cancer development making it especially important that young women and girls avoid exposure.

Genetic Risk 

PAH exposure affects those with a genetic weakness for the clearance of these toxins. Those of us who have a polymorphism in the cytochrome P450 and CYP1A1 clearance pathways are at a much higher risk for breast cancer development (Ishibe, 1998). These genes code for the enzyme involved in the metabolism of PAHs. When we aren’t making enough of the enzymes to break down PAHs and clear them from our bodies, we have prolonged exposure and their damaging effects are increased.

Sources of Exposure to PAHs

We are exposed to PAHs when we breathe any type of whether it’s from campfires, directly from smoking cigarettes, or from secondhand smoke. Smoke from volcanic smog, forest fires, and burning coal, oil, gas, and wood release PAHs. These compounds are also in the black material formed from high temperatures, for example, charred barbequed meats, and burnt toast.  

Detoxification of PAHs

Epidemiological evidence strongly suggests that consumption of dietary phytochemicals found in vegetables and fruit can remediate exposure to PAHs. Glucosinolates from brassica vegetables boost the enzymes that break down these carcinogens (Abdull, 2013). 

PAHs as Xenoestrogens

Exposure to environmental pollutants, such as PAHs and dioxins, are considered major risk factors in premenopausal breast cancer development. Researchers have observed that multiple exposures to other xenoestrogens, such as oral contraception, compounds the estrogen’s effects, increasing risk significantly (Bidgoli, 2011).

Nutrient Support for Detoxifying PAHs

         N-Acetyl Cysteine ( NAC )


Foods that Detoxify PAHs

            Brassica vegetables



PAHs Summary Checklist

O Avoid exposure to PAHs

O Take detoxifying supplements, when exposed to PAHs

O Add detoxifying foods to your daily diet.