More info about Dr. Darbre and her research
Dr Philippa D Darbre,
Senior Lecturer in Oncology, The University of Reading.
Primary field is toxic causes of cancer.
found in breast tumors
12:24 12 January 04
NewScientist.com news service
Preservative chemicals found in samples of breast
tumours probably came from underarm deodorants, UK scientists have claimed.
Their analysis of 20 breast tumours found high concentrations of para-hydroxybenzoic acids (parabens) in 18 samples.
Parabens can mimic the hormone
estrogen, which is known to play a role in the development of breast cancers. The
preservatives are used in many cosmetics and some foods to increase their shelf-life.
"From this research it is not possible to say whether parabens actually caused these tumours, but they may certainly be associated with the overall rise in breast cancer
cases," says Philip Harvey, an editor
of the Journal of Applied Toxicology, which published the research.
"Given that breast cancer is
the largest killer of women and a very high percentage of young women use underarm deodorants, I think we should be carrying out properly funded, further investigations into parabens and where they are found in the body," Harvey told New Scientist.
The new research was led by molecular biologist Philippa Darbre,
at the University of Reading. She
says that the ester-bearing form of parabens found in the tumours indicates it came from something applied to the
skin, such as an underarm deodorant, cream or body spray. When parabens are eaten, they are metabolised and lose the ester group,
making them less strongly estrogen-mimicking.
"One would expect tumours to occur evenly,
with 20 per cent arising in each of the five areas of the breast," Darbre told New Scientist. "But
these results help explain why up to 60
per cent of all breast tumours are
found in just one-fifth of the breast - the upper-outer quadrant, nearest the underarm."...........
A small survey by New Scientist of three British
high street shops and one supermarket found
deodorants in each that contained parabens,
although most of these products did not. However, many other products used under the arm commonly contained parabens, such as
body sprays, hair removal creams
and shaving gels.
Body lotions, face creams, cleansers and shampoos also frequently contained parabens.
Previously published studies have shown that parabens are able
to be absorbed through the skin and to bind
to the body's estrogen-receptors, where they can encourage breast cancer cell growth.
But Flower maintains that the amount of parabens absorbed by the skin is very low and the parabens are "metabolised
by the skin cells to produce products that have no estrogenic activity"........
Dr Philippa D Darbre
Dr. Darbre says she has
not used cosmetic products,
including underarm deodorants, for eight years.
She recommends that other
women do the same
"until their safety can be established".
Journal reference: Journal of Applied Toxicology
(vol 24, p5)
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