Breast Cancer and...Your Lotion?!

When looking at the correlation between environmental toxins and cancers, breast cancer becomes one of the obvious front-runners. This is due to the fact that breast tissue is merely fat tissue, and so toxins, different chemicals that we're exposed to through food, air, water, and skin or hair products, are stored in fat in our bodies. If you have ever attended a digestion or cleanse class at the Juice Barn, this isn't the first time you have heard that adipose stores toxins.

Some of the most underrated toxins linked to breast cancer are parabens. Parabens are a chemical/toxin used as preservatives in many thousands of cosmetic, food, and pharmaceutical products to which we are exposed to everyday…likely including your favorite skin lotion. Manufacturers commonly add parabens to your favorite beauty products as a low cost antibacterial agent to keep bacteria from growing in the product.

 The most common parabens, methylparaben and propylparaben, do prevent a product from growing bacteria, but these chemical are also estrogenic, meaning they have estrogen-like properties. Studies have shown that adding estrogen to petri dish with breast cancer will cause breast cancer cells to grow. Additionally, studies also show that adding parabens to a petri dish with breast cancer cells also causes them to grow, due to their estrogenic nature. Taking this knowledge a step further, another study took a samples of breast tumor and measured for parabens. The results were astonishing, showing that 100% of the samples had paraben chemicals present, with methylparaben being the most prevalent.

 Some other environmental toxins linked to breast cancer in the data are Bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, polyaromatic, chemicals from cigarette smoke, and radiation exposure. Reading labels to avoid parabens and these other toxins in your lifestyle will help reduce your overall toxic exposure, and could certainly, in turn, help you minimize your risk for breast cancer.

Want to learn more? Nutrition-as-medicine classes such as Holistic Health 101, and Holistic Health in The Medicine Cabinet  are both great for teaching you other great ways to reduce your families toxic exposure, and healthy alternatives including our famous homemade lotion!

 Barr, L., Metaxas, G., Harbach, C. A. J., Savoy, L. A., & Darbre, P. D. (2012). Measurement of paraben concentrations in human breast tissue at serial locations across the breast from axilla to sternum. J Appl Toxicol, 32(3), 219–232. 

Byford, J., Shaw, L., Drew, M., Pope, G., Sauer, M., & Darbre, P. (2002). Oestrogenic activity of parabens in MCF7 human breast cancer cells. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol, 80, 49–60.

 Darbre, P., Aljarrah, A., & Miller, W. (2004). Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumours. J Appl Toxicol, 24, 5–13.