Article by Angela Haldane, 28 May 2006
Q. I have a family history of breast cancer, and I am wondering if the cosmetics containing parabens should be avoided.
A. Whilst there is no evidence that parabens cause cancer, scientists have called for the use of parabens to be reviewed. Traces of parabens have been detected in breast cancer tumours which have raised concern.
According to Dr Philippa Darbre – Journal of Applied Toxicology (2004 24 (3): 167-76.) – the detection of parabens in human breast tumours is of concern, since parabens have been shown to be able to mimic the action of the female hormone oestrogen...The hypothesis for a link between oestrogenic ingredients in underarm and body care cosmetics and breast cancer is forwarded as a call for further research’.
The increased incidence we are seeing of breast cancer can be explained by many other factors as well.
Another review concludes that parabens are just one of a large bunch of toxic chemicals that no-one has any idea of what the long term effects are if you use them every day on your skin.
Until further studies are undertaken, I would recommend that you use natural cosmetic products that do not include methyl, ethyl, propyl and butylparabens – these include Miessence certified organic cosmetics (available on this website from the homepage, bottom left hand corner), Trilogy, Living Nature, Skin Food and Dr Hauschka. Read labels carefully on all products. In general, eat foods rich in antioxidants and eat organically to reduce your chemical exposure.
Owing to your family history of breast cancer, your risks are higher than those with no family history. You will need to administer regular breast self examination as well as the breast screening programme recommended by your doctor.