Deodorant May Not Give You Breast Cancer, But Other Toxic Beauty Products Could

Taken from here.

deodorant breast cancer

New research suggests that deodorant doesn’t directly cause breast cancer, but don’t go crazy stocking up on Teen Spirit: The other conclusion of the study is that most of our beauty products are probably responsible for increasing our risk (and deodorant’s not really safe, either). Basically, British scientists analyzed tissue samples from 40 women who had mastectomies, and found parabens throughout the tissues, even of women who said they didn’t use deodorant. Which isn’t really good news whether you use deodorant or not.

In the past, researchers have surmised that lumps found near or directly under the armpit could be caused by the parabens found in conventional brands of deodorant. (Parabens are a class of chemicals and preservatives that are known to mimic the behavior of estrogen in the body, and an excess of estrogen activity is known to increase risk of certain types of cancers, especially in women.) But the British researchers found parabens in 158 of the 160 tissue samples taken from the 40 women, even the ones who don’t use deodorant (and even in tissue samples that weren’t taken from the breast or underarm area). Dr. Philippa Darbre, the lead study author, thinks that means it’s not just coming from something besides deodorant:

The implication is that in these seven nonusers, the paraben measured must have come from another product or products.

But higher levels of one paraben form were found in the breast tissue closest to the armpit, and the women had disproportionate levels of cancer in that area. Still, she doesn’t think that implies an obvious connection to deodorant:

Since 2004, many manufacturers (although not all) have been removing parabens from the underarm deodorant/antiperspirant products and so I was rather surprised when we found higher levels of parabens in these breast tissues (sourced after 2004).

Although estrogen is an acknowledged component in the development of breast cancer, it remains to be established as to whether environmental chemicals with estrogenic (estrogen-like) properties contribute a functional component to the disease process.

I remain as ambivalent as ever about hounding any one chemical. I feel sure the issue is bigger than one chemical.

But even if you don’t want to level accusations at specific products, the evidence doesn’t bode well for parabens. Darbre’s suggestion is to cut back on the use of cosmetic products in general:

We simply use too much in the modern world — too much for our body systems and too much for the wider environment.

But we all know ditching beauty products at large isn’t going to happen for most women anytime soon. But you can definitely ditch dirty products for clean ones: Thankfully, there are plenty of non-toxic, eco-friendly beauty products that don’t contain parabens now, and they actually work.

Do you have any favorite paraben-free products or non-toxic deodorants? Tell us what you use and love:

Photo: The Pistachio Project

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