No proof that parabens in cosmetics cause 99% of cancers

A Facebook post, which has now been deleted but has been widely shared, claimed: “99% of cancers are caused by parabens (toxins) found in most beauty products, skincare products and fragrances. ‘interior’.

This may be based on a study that found that 99% of breast cancer tumors contained parabens, but explicitly stated that this could not be used to claim that parabens were the cause.

Some recent evidence has emerged that parabens may increase the growth of a breast cancer cell line found in women of West African descent.

However, there is no evidence that chemicals cause 99% of cancers.

What are parabens?

Parabens are chemicals widely used as preservatives in cosmetics, toiletries, and other products, including food. They work by preventing the growth of microorganisms like bacteria and fungi.

The European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety authorizes the use of specific parabens that have undergone rigorous safety testing at low levels in cosmetics. Some parabens that have not been properly assessed for human risk are currently banned by the EU, while others that have been assessed are only permitted at specific concentrations or in specific products.

The use of parabens in cosmetics is currently unregulated in the United States.

Parabens do not cause 99% of cancers

Parabens can be absorbed through the skin and most people have been exposed to them in some way.

Research has been conducted on a possible relationship between parabens and the growth of breast cancer cells. But studies have found no causal link between the chemicals and cancer.

A 2004 study found traces of intact parabens in some breast cancer tumor samples, but it did not find a causal link between parabens and the development of breast cancer.

A subsequent study published in 2012 by the same author found that of 160 tissue samples taken from 40 women who underwent mastectomy for first primary breast cancer, 99% contained at least one paraben.

This study appears to be referenced in the comments to the Facebook post, and may be what the user was referring to in their claim that “99% of cancers are caused by parabens.”

However, this is an inaccurate interpretation of the results, which did not prove any causal link between parabens and breast cancer, with the study author himself warning that the study results “cannot be interpreted as implying that [parabens] actually caused breast cancer in the 40 women studied.

Some studies have shown that parabens may mimic the hormone estrogen, which itself has been linked to breast cancer. More recently, researchers from the City of Hope Cancer Center in Los Angeles presented the results of in vitro cell tests which they say showed that parabens increased the growth of a breast cancer cell line found in people. of West African descent, but not in a white bosom. cancer cell line and promoted the spread of breast cancer cells in both, with a greater effect seen in the West African cell line.

This study has not yet been published, Dr. Xiaoting Zhang, director of the breast cancer research program at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, who was not part of the study, told Medical News. Today that while the results were “intriguing” further studies were needed, and that we should be “cautious in drawing the conclusion” that parabens could potentially increase the risk of breast cancer in West African women.

According to the American Cancer Society, the estrogen-like properties of parabens are much weaker than natural estrogen, which is synthesized in both men and women and is more likely to be linked to the development of breast cancer.

The United States Food and Drug Administration states: “At this time, we have no information showing that parabens as used in cosmetics have an effect on human health.”

Image courtesy of Naty Melnychuk

Donovan B. Sanford