The Harm of Parabens
Concerns continue to grow over the possible health effects related to parabens that are found in many cosmetics and personal care products. This group of chemicals, called parabens, are favored by manufacturers as cheap and effective preservatives that hamper the growth of bacteria and fungi. These preservatives have enabled products to be shipped for thousands of miles and to be stored for years at a time.
Over the past few years, several studies have shown that parabens will mimic the effects of estrogen in the body, a concern since breast cancer has been linked to high levels of estrogen. Tellingly, parabens have also been detected within breast tumors. Recent studies have also detected parabens in other parts of the body too, this is because the chemicals can pass through the skin when used in personal care products such as cosmetics, shampoos or skin creams. A recent Danish study found that when a paraben cream was spread on the backs of healthy men, the substance showed up in their blood samples within hours.
“This demonstrates that parabens do indeed penetrate the human skin from cosmetic products,” said Philippa Darbre, a researcher from the University of Reading, England. Darbre led a 2004 study which found parabens in 18 of 20 samples taken from human breast tumors. The study was the first to detect the chemical in the body’s tissues, but could not prove whether the parabens had caused the cancer or even how they had entered the body.
“I think that there is no doubt that parabens do get into the human body intact, something that was previously dismissed as impossible and this is why our study was so controversial,” Darbre said. She concedes that there is no proof yet that parabens cause cancer, and warns that other ingredients may be as just as bad or worse. To be safe, she recommends avoiding using personal care products that contain parabens around the arm and breast.
The parabens listed below are weak environmental estrogens. They also can support the growth of estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells grown in tissue culture according to studies.
A few suggestions– Don’t use anti-antiperspirants in general because they block the body’s ability to sweat and release toxins which is a necessary function. Look instead for non-toxic deodorants which don’t contain parabens, aluminum or other toxic ingredients.
If cost is an issue: sometimes it does cost more to purchase the healthier products at a health food store, so you could try making your own deodorant. Here is a simple and inexpensive recipe that works great~
Natural deodorant: mix baking soda with unrefined coconut oil until you form a smooth paste, add a few drops of essential oils such as lavender, or other depending on your scent preference. Store in a cosmetic tin and apply with fingertips or refill an old stick deodorant container for easy application.
Homemade body cream: Mix 1 tsp of vitamin E oil with 1 cup unrefined coconut oil, then add a few drops of essential oils for a scent. Whip with a mixer until light and creamy. This makes a rich body butter.
Look for paraben- free personal products: such as lotions, shampoos, conditioners and facial products. Realize that whatever you are putting on your skin is also going to be absorbed into the body, now is he time to begin looking for non-toxic alternatives.
Read more articles from this breast cancer series