19 Parabens

Parabens are common chemicals linked to breast cancer 

Due to the fact that they are widely used as antimicrobials (antibacterial and antifungal) and frequently used as preservatives in processed food, medications, and personal care products, most women come in contact with parabens daily and are considered a significant risk factor for those with hormone-sensitive cancers, those who are post-menopausal, and also young women.

 (Błędzka, 2014). Studies have found that even small amounts stimulate the growth of cancer and that their carcinogenic effects could be increased by combining multiple types of parabens (Charles, 2013).

Exposure Through Ingestion and Skin 

Parabens are found in high levels in personal care products, such as cosmetics, shampoos, lotions, soaps, conditioners, and antimicrobial medications. These compounds can be easily absorbed by ingestion as well as through our skin where they can act as carcinogens.

Parabens Exposure

Parabens have been used in so many products over the last fifty years that they are detected in wastewater, rivers, soil, and house dust. Parabens have also been detected in human tissues and urine samples and in high levels in the breast tissue of patients with breast cancer (Genuis, 2013).

Estrogenic Effects of Parabens

Parabens (methyl-, propyl- and butyl- parabens) have a similar structure to estrogen and progesterone which means that have the ability to trigger the development and progression of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer subtypes. These compounds are known as endocrine disruptors because they mimic hormones (Mervish, 2014). Parabens can influence not only proliferation but also the movement of cancer cells throughout the body and increase the aggressiveness of human breast cancer cells (Khanna, 2014).

Epigenetic Effect

Parabens also have an epigenetic effect as they have the ability to activate cancer genes (Wróbel, 2014). This means that they can be the initial cause of cancer development in an individual.

Avoid Exposure

Parabens are among the most commonly used preservatives used to reduce bacterial and fungal growth in cosmetic products such as makeup, moisturizers, hair care, and shaving products. 

Read Labels

Avoid products containing parabens that may be listed in the ingredients like methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben, and isobutylparaben. Each of these compounds may also be listed by their chemical components on labels. Spend a few minutes on the EWG.org website to get an idea of which types of products carry these compounds and how to avoid them in the future.  

Resources: EWG.org

Parabens Summary Checklist

O Remove parabens from your home

O Avoid exposure to Parabens

O Take detoxifying supplements, when exposed to PAHs

O Add detoxifying foods to your daily diet.