Chemical found in deodorants, face cream and food products is discovered in tumours of ALL breast cancer patients
'The fact that parabens were present in so many of the breast tissue samples does justify further investigation’
Underarm risk No link has been proven between deodorants and breast cancer
A chemical widely used as a preservative in cosmetics, food products and pharmaceuticals has been found in tissue samples from 40 women with breast cancer.
A number of studies since 1998 have
raised concerns about the potential role of these parabens in breast cancer as
they possess oestrogenic properties.
Oestrogen is known
to play a central role in the development, growth and progression of
Parabens are a chemical compound found in everyday toiletry products including moisturisers, make-up, shaving foam, tanning lotions and toothpaste.
They are also found in numerous brands of underarm deodorant. However, a causal link has never been found between them and breast cancer.
They are present in processed meats such as sausages, pies and pastries along with coated nuts and other savoury snacks.
The research team led by Dr Philippa Darbre from the University of Reading studied tissue
samples from 40 women undergoing mastectomies between 2005 and 2008 for
first primary breast cancer in England.
In total, 160 samples were
collected, four from each woman. They found 99 per cent of the
tissue samples contained at least one paraben and 60 per cent of the samples had
The team found women who didn't use underarm deodorants still had measurable parabens in their tissue, suggesting they must enter the breast from other sources.
HOW TO SPOT PARABENS
Parabens are a chemical compound of para-hydroxybenzoic acid. Common
Butyl, propyl and ethyl parabens
types include benzylparaben and sobutylparaben.
Methylparaben has been linked to the premature aging of the skin
Co-author Mr Lester Barr from the University Hospital of South Manchester, said: 'Our study appears to confirm the
view that there is no simple cause and effect relationship between
parabens in underarm products and breast cancer.
'The intriguing discovery that parabens
are present even in women who have never used underarm products raises
the question: where have these chemicals come from'
Dr Darbre added: '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.
'However, the fact that parabens were present in so many of the breast tissue samples does justify further investigation.'
Chris Flower, director general of the UK's Cosmetic Toiletry & Perfumery Association, welcomed the study.
He told BBC News Online: 'It is welcome additional information and we will want to examine the findings in detail.
'However, parabens have a very, very good safety profile. We have an enormous amount of information which supports the safety of these chemicals and their use in cosmetics.'