Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in American women. According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in every 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime.
New research now shows that chemicals in cosmetics and personal care products may cause cancer.
Previous research has uncovered that chemicals called parabens found in cosmetics and deodorant products act similarly to the hormone estrogen, causing cells to multiply and increasing the risk of breast cancer.
Parabens activate the same pathways as estrogen, but very weakly. Because of this, they are considered to be safe by some.
However, Dr. Dale Leitman, an adjunct professor of nutritional sciences and toxicology at the University of California, Berkeley notes that the previous studies have focused on parabens by themselves.
“The real problem when you do studies in the laboratory is that you study one compound at a time, but in the body, that’s not the case. What you’re seeing in the body is really a combination” of the effects of many compounds, Leitman said.
The new study focused on the effects of parabens when combined with another potential breast cancer causing compound called heregulin.
The researchers found that when parabens and heregulin were combined, were 100 times more deadly at increasing breast cancer risk than parabens alone.
Leitman states that more research is needed to confirm these results.
“All we can say from our study is that in order to determine how safe the parabens are … [we need] to test them not by themselves but with other chemicals that stimulate cell proliferation,” he said.
The study showing that chemicals in cosmetics may cause cancer was published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
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1. “What Are the Key Statistics about Breast Cancer?” American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society, n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2015.
2. “Lower Doses of Common Product Ingredient Might Increase Breast Cancer Risk.” Silent Spring Institute. Silent Spring Institute, n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2015.
3. “Parabens and Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Ligands Cross-Talk in Breast Cancer Cells.” EHP. Environmental Health Perspectives, n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2015.
4. “Chemicals in Personal Products May Stimulate Cancer More than Thought.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 27 Oct. 2015. Web. 31 Oct. 2015.