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Parabens and Breast Cancer

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Parabens and Breast Cancer

Two of my recent Care2 blogs covered how and why to make your own homemade personal care products. I included some rules and tools to help us all make our own home brews, in Homemade Pomegranate Beauty Scrub. I also suggested that you be on the lookout for certain highly questionable ingredients that could be problematic, in 11 Beauty Uses for Coconut.

Now it has become apparent that it is even more important to read personal care product labels. A new study in The Journal of Applied Toxicology has made us more aware of the dangers of parabens, a class of estrogen-mimicking chemicals which are found in numerous drugs, foods, personal care products and cosmetics. In the study, “Parabens detection in different zones of the human breast consideration of source and implications of findings,” researchers discussed the possible role of parabens in causing breast cancer and childhood disease.

Once you start reading labels, you will find that parabens are found in thousands of personal care products on the market. Sayer Ji, founder and chair of, has an excellent article which focuses on the findings of The Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Centre at the University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust: Human Hormones Are Being Eclipsed by Synthetic Chemicals (March 2012). Here we find that scientists from the Breast Cancer Prevention Centre have discovered five paraben esters in human breast tissue samples, collected from 40 mastectomies from women with primary breast cancer.

The report discussed by Sayer Ji reveals three main points:

1) The ester form of parabens found within the breast tissue samples indicated a dermal route of exposure, as would occur through skin care products and underarm deodorants.

2) The paraben residues were found at concentrations up to 1 million times higher than the estrogen (estradiol) levels naturally found in human breast tissue.

3) Propylparaben was found in the highest concentration in the underarm area (axilla), where underarm deodorants are most used and breast cancer prevalence is at its highest.

Meanwhile, our watchdog organization WHO (The World Health Organization) considers the estrogenic properties of parabens to be a low toxicological risk due to it being 10,000 to 100,000 times less potent than estradiol (E2). However, the one millionfold higher levels found within the sampled breast tissue clearly indicate that the magnitude of exposure more than compensates for the reduction in potency.

Sayer Ji points out that the new study raises a highly disturbing possibility:

“For exposures in children, concern has already been raised that ‘the estrogenic burden of parabens and their metabolites in blood may exceed the action of endogenous estradiol in childhood and the safety margin for propylparaben is very low when comparing worst-case exposure.” (Boberg et al., 2010)

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Celeste Yarnall

Celeste Yarnall, PhD shares musings on myriad of topics at her Celestial Musings Blog. She is the author of The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care with Jean Hofve, DVM and Paleo Dog. Celeste is an actress/producer/activist/writer and keynote speaker. She and her husband Nazim Artist created the Art of Wellness Collection and are the producers of Femme: Women Healing the World. They live in Los Angeles, California with their beloved Tonkinese cats. Join Celeste at her website or on Facebook.


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9:00AM PDT on Aug 18, 2015

One of the reasons I only use natural products with an ingredient list I can pronounce, and not too many of those, either.

11:50PM PDT on Aug 21, 2012

thanks for share..

5:08AM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

Noted,thank you

7:35AM PDT on Jun 20, 2012

i'd like to ban paraben of my life... don't be easy if everything have it....

7:35AM PDT on Jun 20, 2012

i'd like to ban paraben of my life... don't be easy if everything have it....

7:01AM PDT on Jun 17, 2012

Parabens are found in everyday skincare to get paraben free products easily?

5:01AM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

Thanks, we have a local company that excluded parabens from one of their branded products, and I wasn't aware of the reason, thanks for enlightening me.

8:12PM PDT on Jun 14, 2012

"One of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicine.”
- by William Osler, M.D.
Today the site has a US ALEXA ( rank, which is a metric for the popularity of sites on the internet, surpassed the World Health Organization: 6800 vs. 7200 (the smaller the number the higher the rank). It is amazing what that says about people's growing interest in natural medicine vs. the stuff the WHO promotes.
Check out, founded by the amazing Sayer Ji! Is The World's Largest, Open-Access, Evidence-Based Natural Medicine & Alternative Toxicology Database With 18,000+ Articles! now includes over 19,000 biomedical citations and six major indexes, including Problematic Actions (adverse effects of vaccines, for instance)

Read more:

5:06PM PDT on Jun 13, 2012

thanks! I will try the coconut oil!

2:43PM PDT on Jun 13, 2012

"All our progress is an unfolding,
like a vegetable bud.
You have first an instinct,
then an opinion,
then a knowledge,
as the plant has root, bud and fruit.

Trust the instinct to the end,
though you can render no reason."

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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