Thursday, October 13, 2016

THE NEW BREAST CANCER PREVENTION ROUTINE: HOW CHEMICALS AND TIMING PLAY A ROLE AND HOW YOU CAN HELP YOUR OWN CHILDREN DECREASE THEIR RISK: PARABENS

Parabens are commonly found in makeup... the good news is that
 many new brands like RMS Beauty (pictured) avoid parabens and are
great products - make the switch to safe!

This is part 4 of our 5 part series.  If you have already read the other entries feel free to scroll down to where we have the information on today's chemical :  parabens!

Background Information
When we talk about breast cancer, prevention is key.  

Do as many things as you can do to decrease your risk of getting cancer will always be a better game plan than dealing with it once you already have it, obviously.   

Today, many well known organizations and breast cancer specialist agree that avoiding certain environmental chemicals should and need to be taken seriously as part of what any woman does to prevent breast cancer.   ( Four authoritative panels have already  pointed to further study of environmental chemicals as a promising direction for prevention: Cogliano et al. 2011; IBCERCC 2013; Institute of Medicine (IOM) 2011;  and the President’s Cancer Panel 2010).

The timing of the exposure to endocrine disputing chemicals also has a lot to do with how big an impact these chemicals can  have on a person.  There are periods of development called " windows of susceptibility"  where the breast is especially sensitive to environmental exposures.   These are:
  • - during fetal development (when the organ is formed)
  • - during puberty 
  • - during pregnancy ( both during pregnancy and after lactation, when the breast tissue remodels)

During these periods,  an environment is created in which the mammary gland is sensitive to environmental factors that can lead to cancer.  Sometimes the impact of a chemical is seen at birth,  but for chemicals linked to breast cancer, often times  it remains hidden until years even decades later (ie.  when breast cancer is diagnosed). 

Thus, a key way to protect yourself and daughters (and sons since breast cancer affects men too) comes down to decreasing their exposure to estrogen mimicking chemicals from the moment of conception and throughout puberty (early childhood - puberty is ideal) as well as during a woman's pregnancy. 

This week we are talking about the 4 common and potentially harmful estrogen mimicking chemicals that have links to breast cancer.  Yesterday we spoke about BPA, today we will focus on another common chemical:   parabens.

PARABENS


USES: Parabens are used as preservatives that stop the growth of bacteria, yeast, and molds and thus to increase the shelf life of the product.  The most common parabens used in cosmetic products are methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben

OF CONCERN:  Parabens  are endocrine disrupting chemicals that specifically mimic estrogen, thus the concern with breast cancer.  A March 2012 study detected the presence of paraben esters in 99 percent of breast cancer tissues sampled, suggesting a strong link between the chemical and breast cancer tumors (of note:  in the study, all women (99%) , both those with and without breast cancer were found to have at lest one paraben in their breast region in this study.  60% had more than one paraben).   

A more recent 2015 study found that parabens can spur the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells. And they appear to be able to do this even in tiny amounts, which is a new piece of data from this study that is of special concern.  

In 2015, the EU set a lower limit for the amount of parabens legally allowed in cosmetics. In 2011  Denmark’s banned propyl and butylparaben in all products directed to children younger than age 3.   In the US, the FDA does not regulate parabens or any other ingredient used in cosmetics.  

WHERE: Deodorants and antiperspirants are some of the primary sources of parabens, as are makeup,  face creams, shampoos, toothpaste


WHAT YOU CAN DO
  • - Understand that whatever you spread on your skin can be absorbed into your body and affect your unborn child and yourself over time.
  • - In your daily routine, but especially during pregnancy (and when your baby is an infant) less is more.  Try to use only the minimal cosmetic and beauty products necessary.
  • - Read the labels! Many adult and baby products are now available and labelled as “paraben free”.   When reading labels, try to avoid products that list ingredients that end in paraben (ie:  methylparaben, propulparaben etc)…
  • - If you buy makeup without preservatives, be sure to replace it regularly. 
  • - Consider European brands: cosmetics made in Europe will legally have lower paraben levels (an many none at all) thanks to new restrictions on paraben use in cosmetics n the EU.

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