Fact or Myth: Do Parabens Contribute to Breast Cancer?

This is a FACT.

The link between parabens (para-hydroxybenzoic acid) and cancer can no longer be ignored.

Widely used as a preservative, parabens are absorbed through your skin, blood and intestines. parabens and cancer When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared parabens “generally safe for use” – the FDA based their findings on oral consumption of parabens – it did not take into account how much exposure you truly have to these compounds through your skin.

Parabens are known to have oestrogenic properties – they mimic the natural estrogen found in our bodies. Estrogen is a known component in the development and progression of breast cancer.

Manufacturers use parabens to increase the shelf life of packaged goods and to inhibit bacterial growth. Parabens are so prevalent that you may not realize how much you actually absorb on a daily basis.

Parabens and Cancer: The Link Discovered

A University of Reading study published in the January 2012 issue of the Journal of Applied Technology found measurable concentrations of parabens in almost 100% of removed breast cancer tissue.

The results showed that at least one paraben was found in 99% of breast cancer tissue with 60% testing positive for five of the most common parabens used.

Not all women who participated in the study used underarm deodorant (a product that has spurred cancer controversy for years). This begs the question: Where is the exposure to parabens coming from?

What Products Contain Parabens?

    • Lotion
    • Shampoo
    • Cosmetics
    • Deodorant
    • Tanning Products
    • Shaving Cream
    • Toothpaste and Mouthwash
    • Pharmaceuticals (prescription and over-the-counter)
    • Foods

A study done through the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that parabens and cancer cause fertility problems, birth defects, hormone disruption and organ toxicity.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that nearly every urine sample taken from humans contains parabens.


Parabens accumulate in human breast tissue.

Your best option is to avoid these compounds whenever possible. You must read product labels and buy products from companies who take the risk of parabens seriously.

Spotting parabens and cancer on labels:

    • N-propylparaben
    • Methylparaben
    • N-butylparaben
    • Ethylparaben
    • Isobutylparaben

Manufacturers are quick to point out that there is no direct link between specific products containing parabens and cancer. They give false assurance based on the lack of data in the scientific community. Research has proven that parabens accumulate in human breast tissue and that almost 100% of breast cancer tumors contain these compounds.

Even though additional research needs to be done to pinpoint which products most directly increase your exposure to parabens, the evidence to date is strong enough to confirm the connection to the compound.

5 Habits to Lower Your Breast Cancer Risk

    Limit sugar in your diet: The Cancer Centers of America incorporates a low sugar diet as part of its recommended treatment plan. By regulating the insulin levels in your body, you rob cancer of its favorite fuel. Alcohol is naturally high in sugar and should be consumed in moderation.
    Increase your intake of vitamin D: The combination of sun exposure for 20 minutes three times a week (with UVA/UVB protection of SPF 15 or greater) and vitamin D3 supplements gives your body extra fortification against cancer.
    Shed excess weight: Estrogen is produced in the fatty tissue of the body. Getting your weight under control and maintaining it benefits your entire body. Obesity contributes to diabetes, heart disease and arthritis, in addition to cancer.
    Eat more omega-3 foods: Salmon, tuna, leafy greens, olive oil, seeds and walnuts ensure sufficient omega-3 nutrition – a biomarker for cancer.
    Avoid too much iron: Post-menopausal women tend to accumulate iron since they are no longer menstruating. Donating blood is one way to draw off excess iron.

Removing as many parabens and cancer from your daily life as possible will minimize your exposure. It could take the FDA years to catch up with the science and implement tougher regulations on the use of parabens.

In the meantime, shift your purchasing dollars to paraben-free products.

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