Health News & Articles
Parabens and breast cancer.
What are Parabens?
Parabens are oestrogen mimickers* which are used to prevent the growth of yeasts, molds, and bacteria in cosmetics products.
Measurable concentrations of six different parabens have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors (Darbre, 2004)
Parabens appear in many deodorants and antiperspirants, in addition to personal care products that contain significant amounts of water, such as shampoos, conditioners, lotions -including sun protection-and facial and shower cleansers and scrubs.
Adolescents and adult females had higher levels of methylparaben and propylparaben in their urine than did males of similar ages (Calafat, 2010). Higher levels of parabens were found in the axilla quadrant of the breast (the area nearest the underarm) (Barr, 2011). This is the region in which the highest proportion of breast tumors are found.
What do oestrogen mimickers* actually do?
Oestrogen mimickers, also called “xenoestrogens”, mimic the effects of true oestrogen, linking to receptor sites and contributing to estrogen excess or block the effects of true estrogen ((Routledge, 1998).
As a result they throw off hormonal balance and “they can also increase the expression of many genes that are usually regulated by the natural oestrogen and cause human breast tumor cells (MCF-7 cells) to grow and proliferate in vitro” (Byford, 2002; Pugazhendhi, 2007).
How can I reduce my exposure to Parabens?
- Check personal care product labels and avoid any products with Parabens or any word ending in “-paraben: Ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, other ingredients ending in –paraben
- Take a look at the information website http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/whats-in-my-products/products/ where you can check what to look for in the different products you normally use.
- Avoid plastics
- Avoid Soy products -except fermented-, as they are also oestrogen mimickers
- Apply the same rule to cleaning products at home. We use Method products, which are paraben-free and smell good! (http://methodhome.com)
- Include your kids in the Paraben-free campaign, and introduce your teenagers to the right deodorants: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty/anti-aging/g790/best-natural-deodorants/? . As an effective alternative, wash under the arms with bicarbonate soda. It’s magic and it totally works.
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