The Breast Cancer and Paraben Link

Have you checked your make-up and other beauty products for parabens? Photo: Matt Trostle

A recent breast cancer study found that there may be a connection between breast cancer and parabens. A recent Huffington Post article references the study:

A comprehensive study published in the January 2012 issue of the Journal of Applied Toxicology shows more evidence of a correlation between parabens and incidences of breast cancer. Titled “Measurement of paraben concentrations in human breast tissue at serial locations across the breast from axilla to sternum,” the team of researchers, led by Dr. Philippa Darbre from the University of Reading in the UK, found that virtually all—99 percent—of the tissue samples collected from women participating in the study contained at least one paraben, and 60 percent of the samples contained no less than five parabens.

Parabens are chemicals used as preservatives in many cosmetics and personal care products that we use everyday. Things like, shampoo, makeup, lotion, toothpaste and more. Parabens are chemicals that are now showing up in the human body. It has been estimated that women put over a hundred of these types of chemicals on (and in) their bodies, everyday. Even more frightening, most of these chemicals are untested. Diane Sawyer (on ABC) did an Consumer Watchdog piece recently about this issue.

One of the biggest problems with parabens is the fact that they mimic estrogen in our bodies. Some types of breast cancer react and grow dependent on estrogen levels. Paraben levels in the body are believed to be connected to the rise in breast cancer rates, possibly because virtually all tumors studied contained parabens. Some people have pointed to underarm deodorants which do contain parabens. Researchers have noted a higher incidence of tumors in the area of the breast closest to the underarm. However, even people who don’t use deodorants or anti-perspirants still have paraben toxins in their bodies.

These days, many personal care products are sporting “paraben-free” labeling. Manufacturers of these products are paying attention to these studies and to their customers who are calling for them to be removed.

What do you think about parabens? Have you tried to eliminate parabens from your beauty routine?