Parabens in breast tissue not limited to women who have used underarm products

A collaborative study involving the Universities of Reading and South Manchester has determined that all the breast tissue samples of 40 women undergoing mastectomies for breast cancer between 2005 and 2008 contained at least one paraben, even though some of the women had never used underarm cosmetic products. Since some of the women have never used parabens-containing underarm products, the parabens must have entered their systems from other sources.

The research was undertaken as part of the investigation into the link between parabens and breast cancers. Parabens are used as preservatives in food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, and they possess oestrogenic properties. Oestrogen is linked to the development of breast cancer. The occurrence of most breast cancers in the upper, outer area of the breast could be linked to the use of underarm products.

The research found that one particular paraben, n-propylparaben, was found in significantly higher levels nearest the armpit, but that the four other parabens detected were equally distributed across the remaining breast tissue samples, which were taken from four locations from nearest the armpit to nearest the sternum.

Although the presence of parabens does not imply their part in causing breast cancer, however the fact that they are present in almost all (158 of 160 tissue samples taken) means that further investigation into where they come from is needed.

Source: The Journal of Applied Toxicology


More research on personal care products

January 2012