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The BCERF program on the Cancer Risks of Environmental Chemicals in the Home and Workplace closed on March 31, 2010. No further updates will be made to this web site. Please go Cornell University’s eCommons web site to access BCERF’s archived research and educational materials (


Our Mission The Program on Breast Cancer and Environmental Risk Factors (BCERF) at Cornell University is devoted to lowering the risk and incidence of cancer by promoting methods of sound decision-making at personal and public levels.

What Are Environmental Risk Factors? Cancer is a complex disease. A small percentage of breast cancer may be caused solely by genes (or inherited factors). The vast majority of cases likely develop through an interaction between the individual and their unique genes and their environment. Environmental risk factors may include chemicals in the home or workplace, obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption, and exercise among others. Scientists are working to understand the interaction of genes and environment and what role they play in cancer risk.

How We Work BCERF works within the emerging field of translational research. Basic research is translated by our staff of scientists and educators into forms that can be used by the public, medical professionals, educators, activists, other scientists, the regulatory community, and policy makers. BCERF turns science into clear information you can use in your life and in your work to reduce your risk of cancer.

Consult Your Physician About Medical Concerns BCERF provides information on the cancer risks associated with environmental factors. We do not provide medical advice nor can our staff provide treatment recommendations. The information on the BCERF web site is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician.

Funding and Credentials Since the program began in 1995, BCERF has been funded by grants. We are currently funded by the New York State Departments of Health (DOH) and Environmental Conservation (DEC) as well as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Please glance through the staff biographies to see the credentials we bring to our work.

Human and Animal Relationship

We are sometimes asked why BCERF is located within the College of Veterinary Medicine. Cancer is a great health concern among the millions of pet owners in the United States. The similarities between cancer in humans and cancer in companion animals are remarkable. Human and companion animal research intersects in many beneficial ways. If you’d like to learn more about these connections, see