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Does Deodorant Ingredient Affect Breast Cancer Risk?
Date:1/12/2012

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- For several years, researchers have studied a possible link between substances called parabens -- widely used as a germ-fighting preservative in cosmetics such as deodorant/antiperspirants -- and breast cancer.

Investigators have learned that parabens, also found in some drugs and food products, can mimic weakly the action of the female hormone estrogen -- an established risk factor for breast cancer. And the fact that a disproportionate number of breast tumors occur nearer the underarm also had scientists wondering.

But now, British researchers who examined breast tissue samples from 40 women who had mastectomies have found that traces of parabens are widespread in tissues, even in the seven women who said they'd never used underarm products.

"The implication is that in these seven nonusers, the paraben measured must have come from another product or products," said Dr. Philippa Darbre, a cancer researcher at the University of Reading who has long studied the issue.

In the study, published online in January in the Journal of Applied Toxicology, Darbre and her colleagues report that one or more kinds of parabens were found in 158 of the 160 samples taken from the tissue collected from the 40 women. They found 96 samples contained all five of the most common paraben esters (forms).

The levels of paraben found were higher, by about four times, than Darbre found when she did a similar but smaller study in 2004. "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)," Darbre said.

Higher levels of one form of paraben were found in the region of the breast closest to the armpit, she said, and the women had a disproportio
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