(Health Secrets Newsletter) UK based research into how chemicals are deposited in human tissue has discovered parabens in the breast tissue of every woman with breast cancer that formed part of the study, suggesting a possible association between these toxic chemicals and breast cancer. The small study was performed at the University of Reading and published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology.
Parabens are a group of chemicals that are often used as preservatives in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, and can be found in underarm deodorants and other personal care products despite the fact that they are known to be toxic. Parabens have similar properties to estrogen, and so have previously been linked with cancers such as breast cancer that are fed by excessive unbalanced estrogen. Many people believe that underarm deodorants containing parabens are particularly dangerous because they are applied so close to the breast.
What Did the Study Show?
The study assessed the breast tissue of 40 women who had undergone mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer. The breast tissue samples were collected from Manchester Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Centre between 2005 and 2008.
The breast tissue samples were tested for the presence of five different types of parabens. Samples were taken from four different locations in the breast, from the armpit across towards the breast bone. The basic results were:
- One or more parabens were found in 99% of samples (158 out of 160)
- All five parabens were found in 60% of samples (96 out of 160)
- Some breast tissue from all the women analyzed contained one or more parabens
Are Deodorants to Blame?
The suggestion that parabens in underarm deodorant could play a role in breast cancer is not a new one, and it does seem that the area of the breast nearer the underarm is likely to have a higher concentration of parabens. However, some of the women that took part in this study reported never having used underarm deodorant in their lives, meaning that the chemicals must have come from somewhere else.
There could be a huge number of possibilities as parabens can be found in shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, tanning creams and lotions, make-up, shaving cream, and even toothpaste. Even natural progesterone creams often contain parabens.These can be absorbed through the skin and may well build up in breast tissue. Parabens can also be ingested in processed meats such as sausage and bologna and other lunch meats.
Lester Barr, the study’s co-author said that, “Our study appears to confirm the view that there is no simple cause and effect relationship between parabens in underarm products and breast cancer. The intriguing discovery that parabens are present even in women who have never used underarm products raises the question: where have these chemicals come from?”
Do Parabens Cause Cancer?
This was only a small study, and just included women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, so it can’t clearly identify a link between cancer and parabens. It may be that the breast tissue of all women contains parabens, whether they develop cancer or not. It may also be that if a larger number of women with breast cancer were assessed, some of their breast tissue would not contain parabens.
However, it does seem that as all the women in this study had both breast cancer and parabens in their breast tissue, there may well be a link. Dr Darbre, the lead author of the study suggested that, “The fact that parabens were detected in the majority of the breast tissue samples cannot be taken to imply that they actually caused breast cancer in the 40 women studied. However, the fact that parabens were present in so many of the breast tissue samples does justify further investigation.”
While the scientific world continues to argue about whether parabens really do cause breast cancer, it makes sense to switch to cosmetic products that are marked as paraben free; there are plenty to choose from. You should also make sure you undertake a regular detox protocol a couple of time a year to rid your body of dangerous toxins and reduce the risk that these could lead to severe illness such as cancer.