Environmental factors may be partially responsible for elevated breast cancer rates in Newton, Mass., a Boston suburb, according to a new study funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Women living in areas of Newton where breast cancer rates were higher than usual were more likely to be affluent and well-educated, and they reported more frequent past use of pesticides, professional lawn services, dry cleaning, and vaginal spermicides, which may mean they were exposed to more potentially cancer-causing substances than women of lower socioeconomic status, the study found. The researchers drew no direct conclusions, but pointed to the need for further research into possible connections.