By Dr. Mercola
Sources and Dangers of Parabens
New research has detected the presence of paraben esters in 99 percent of breast cancer tissues sampled.1 The study examined 40 women who were being treated for primary breast cancer. In 60 percent of cases, five of the different esters were present.
Parabens are chemicals with estrogen-like properties, and estrogen is one of the hormones involved in the development of breast cancer. The study notes that:2
"Variation was notable with respect to individual paraben esters, location within one breast and similar locations in different breasts.
Overall median values in nanograms per gram tissue for the 160 tissue samples were highest for n-propylparaben and methylparaben; levels were lower for n-butylparaben, ethylparaben and isobutylparaben...The source of the paraben cannot be identified, but paraben was measured in the 7/40 patients who reported never having used underarm cosmetics in their lifetime."
Deodorants and antiperspirants are some of the primary sources of parabens, but the fact that even those who reportedly never used them still had parabens in their breast tissue clearly demonstrates that these chemicals, regardless of what products they're added to, can, and apparently will, accumulate in breast tissue.
It's important to recognize that whatever you spread on your skin can be absorbed into your body and potentially cause serious damage over time, as this research demonstrates.
(To learn more about the potential toxicity of your cosmetics, I urge you to review the EWG's extensive Skin Deep Report.)3 Parabens inhibit the growth of bacteria, yeast, and molds, and are used as preservatives. On the label they may be listed as:
Studies have shown that parabens can affect your body much like the estrogens, which can lead to diminished muscle mass, extra fat storage, and male gynecomastia (breast growth). Other studies besides the one featured here have also linked parabens to breast cancer. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has linked methyl parabens in particular to metabolic, developmental, hormonal, and neurological disorders, as well as various cancers.
Avoiding parabens and other harmful chemicals requires becoming an avid label reader. Beware that products boasting "all-natural" labels can still contain harmful chemicals, including parabens, so make sure to check the list of ingredients.
Another alternative is to make your own personal care products. In many cases it's much easier than you might think. Michael DeJong, environmentalist and author of books on green living has a book called Clean Cures,4 which is chockfull of affordable, easy, natural remedies you can prepare at home to treat ordinary ailments with items you have in your own refrigerator and pantry.
By Dr. David Suzuki
Used in a variety of cosmetics as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disrupters and may interfere with male reproductive functions.