EWG - Common Preservative in Personal Care Products Linked to Breast Cancer

November 24, 2015

By Paul Pestano, Research Analyst

Excerpt: Low doses of chemical preservatives widely used in cosmetics, shampoos, skin lotions and other personal care products may be linked to breast cancer, according to a new study from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

The preservatives are parabens, found in more than a fifth of the products in EWG’s Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database. It's been known for more than a decade that parabens, which mimic the hormone estrogen, can disrupt lab animals' endocrine systems, but some scientists argue the concentrations in people are too low to worry about.

Now the UC Berkeley study, published online Oct. 27 in Environmental Health Perspectives, argues that previous research only looked at parabens' effects in isolation. The study shows that when parabens interact with other biochemical changes in breast cancer cells, the effect is much stronger and could lead to faster, more aggressive growth of tumors and formation of malignant cancer.

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