Avoid Parabens

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Recently, researchers published their work in which they found higher concentrations of parabens (preservatives found in many products, especially beauty products) in the upper quadrants of the breast and axillary area, where antiperspirants are usually applied. This highly suggests that parabens may contribute to the development of breast cancer. One or more paraben esters were detected in 99 percent of the tissue samples collected from mastectomies. In 60 percent of the samples, all five paraben esters were present.

A recent study showed paraben in biopsy samples of women with breast cancer.
A recent study showed paraben in biopsy samples of women with breast cancer.

Overall, it appears that the topical application of personal care products containing parabens is the greatest source of exposure to these estrogen-mimicking chemicals (also called “gender-benders”), far surpassing the risk of the aluminum in antiperspirants. Aluminum chloride is the active ingredient in many antiperspirants. It has been found to act similarly to the way oncogenes (specific genes in our chromosomes that can initiate the start of cancerous cells) work to provide molecular transformations in cancer cells. Like the parabens, aluminum salts also mimic estrogen and bio-accumulate in breast tissue. This can raise your breast cancer risk. Despite the fact that parabens are used in such a wide variety of products, their safety is primarily based on a rat study from 1956. Modern toxicology studies are lacking as there is not presently a single study on parabens’ carcinogenity (ability to cause cancer) that follow acceptable regulatory standard protocols.
New research examining parabens found in cancerous human breast tissue points the finger at antiperspirants and other cosmetics for increasing your risk of breast cancer. This new research, which is also reviewed in an editorial published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology, looked at where breast tumors were appearing. It determined that higher concentrations of parabens were found in the upper quadrants of the breast and axillary area, where antiperspirants are usually applied. Parabens are chemicals that serve as preservatives in antiperspirants and many cosmetics, as well as sun lotions. Previous studies have already shown that all parabens have estrogenic activity (mimics the actions of natural estrogen) in human breast cancer cells.
Aluminum Chloride is another large component of some antiperspirants. It, too, has been found to act similarly to the way oncogenes work to provide molecular transformations in cancer cells. The new research shows “signals of concern that such compounds are not as safe as previously generally considered, and further research is warranted,” according to the editorial published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology. The recent study contained the most extensive examination of parabens in human breast so far published. It confirmed previous work and raises a number of questions on the entire parabens found in personal care products concerning the toxicological significance of the paraben esters and human health.

What the researchers found…

  • 99% of breast cancer tissue samples contained parabens
  • The researchers discovered one or more paraben esters in 99 percent of the 160 tissue samples collected from 40 mastectomies
  • In 60% percent of the samples, all five paraben esters were present.
  • There were no correlations between paraben concentrations and age, length of breast feeding, tumor location, or tumor estrogen receptor content.
  • While antiperspirants are a common source of parabens, the source of the parabens could not be established as 7 of the 40 patients reportedly never used deodorants or antiperspirants in their lifetime. What this means is that parabens, regardless of the source (and there are many), can bio-accumulate in breast tissue.
  • Parabens can be found in a wide variety of personal care products, cosmetics, as well as drugs.
  • Tumors were disproportionately located in the upper, outer quadrant of the breast, and more tumors are found in the left breast than the right, suggesting it may be related to products applied topically to those areas (most people are right-handed, which could make you a bit more heavy-handed when applying products under your left arm than your right)

Final Word

While we all strive for better health, you need to be aware that some “natural” antiperspirants, while they claim they do not have aluminum in their products, have substituted the aluminum with “alum.” This is usually potassium aluminum sulfate. It’s still just aluminum, especially found in the crystal deodorants. Choose an all Organic, Toxin-free supply of skincare products.

References Cited

  1. Journal of Applied Toxicology January 12, 2012: 32(3); 219-232.
  2. Journal of Applied Toxicology February 1, 2012: 32(5); 305-309.
  3. Journal of Applied Toxicology January 12, 2012: 32(3); 219-232.
  4. Journal of Applied Toxicology April 2011: 31(3):262-9.
  5. Pharmacology and Toxicology April 2001: 88(4):159-67.
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