Remember the time when it was believed that deodorants and antiperspirants can cause breast cancer? It was sometime in 2004 when research was published linking parabens - preservative chemicals found in deodorants, shampoo, and other personal care products - to breast cancer. Allegedly, because parabens are present in so many products, these can easily be absorbed by the skin in small doses.
Given the nature of antiperspirants and how these are applied in the lymph node area, which cancer cells invade and where breast tumors develop, speculation grew and studies were performed to investigate the matter.
When 160 breast tissue samples were studied from 40 mastectomy patients, it was discovered that 99 percent of these samples had at least one paraben, while 60 percent had at least five different parabens. This study, however, can not conclude anything as it is yet to be studied whether this is the case as well for all breast cancer patients.
Experts dismissed the causal association between parabens and breast cancer since the chances of just one chemical being the main trigger for breast cancer is slim. Another finding that eliminates this association is that even women who did not use antiperspirant or deodorant were still found to have parabens in their breast tissues.
Said Dr. Philippa Darbre, Reader in Oncology at the University of Reading, and one of the study’s leaders, “The fact that parabens were detected in the majority of the breast tissue samples cannot be taken to imply that they actually caused breast cancer in the 40 women studied.” He adds, “However, the fact that parabens were present in so many of the breast tissue samples does justify further investigation."
Another reason being looked into is that parabens also have effects similar to that of estrogens, and estrogens are known for causing 80 percent of all breast tumors. Given the number of paraben toxins in the body, though, it makes it difficult for experts to determine just which specific parabens are causing the breast tumors.
The FDA says, “…at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens.”