Parabens are a type of preservatives that are commonly found in many food products, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. A recent study has examined tissue samples from women who are suffering from breast cancer and it was found that in these samples parabens were present. There are concerns over these chemicals as they have oestrogen properties which can play a role in the development of breast cancer.
These chemicals are found in a wide number of everyday products such as under arm deodorant. There has not been a link proved between these chemicals and the prevalence of breast cancer as of yet.
Parabens work by preventing microbial growth in cosmetic products as well as foods and this means they have a longer shelf life. Whenever a product contains these chemicals it must be stated on the label. They also found naturally in some foods, such as blueberries.
Parabens mimic the effects of oestrogen but are responsible for much smaller amounts of the chemical when compared to the amounts that are produced in the body naturally. Research out of the University of Reading has been led by Dr Philippa Darbre and it found that in 160 samples of tissues from breast cancer victims 99 percent of them contained the chemicals.
It had been previously speculated that the use of products such as underarm deodorant were responsible for putting parabens into the system, however the new research found that there was no difference in the level of parabens between the women who did not use underarm deodorant and those that did.
Also working on the study was Mr Leicester Barr and he commented, “Just because there are parabens found in this tissue samples does not mean that they are causing the breast cancer in these women. All we can take from this study is that there is a need for further investigation into these chemicals, currently there is no evidence to suggest that they do cause cancer.”
Dr Darbre stated, “Our study has shown that there are parabens present in the tissue of women who have breast cancer but there is no indication from this study that they are the reason why the breast cancer has developed. The results do, however, justify further investigation into the relationship between breast cancer and parabens.”
Catherine Priestly is a nurse at Breast Cancer Care and she said, “There has been an ongoing debate about whether parabens have a link with breast cancer and this report just highlights how there is a need for further research. There is no evidence currently that these chemicals have any link to the development of cancer but it is certainly worth investigating the issue further.
“Women who are concerned about breast cancer should look at more established indicators that we know to be suggestive of the likeliness of developing breast cancer. These include things such as age and family history. It is important that people are aware of these risk factors so they can make informed decisions about their lifestyle and health choices.”