Commonly used as preservatives, parabens are found in a wide range of cosmetics and personal care products. Their potential link to breast cancer has been widely discussed.
UK charity Cancer Research claims "there is no good evidence linking parabens to breast cancer in humans."
However, on its website, the US organization Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP) states: "Several studies have shown that parabens can affect the mechanisms of normal breast cells and potentially influence their abnormal growth, leading to increased risk for breast cancer."
The new study, which was conducted in June and adds to very limited research in this area, suggested that parabens increased the growth of a Black breast cancer cell line. They did not do the same for the white cancer cell line.
One of the authors, Dr. Lindsey S. Treviño, told Medical News Today: "The effects we observe on cell growth and hormone-related gene expression in this study give us a clue that paraben exposure may promote breast cancer progression."
She continued on to state that the findings are important "because we know that hair products marketed to and used by Black women contain parabens."
Just recently, another new study, which was led by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, suggested that those who use chemical hair straightening products (which research suggests is mostly Black women) could be at a higher risk of developing uterine cancer.
Uterine cancer is also referred to as womb cancer. While it is not as common as breast cancer, it still impacts thousands of people every year. The American Cancer Society predicts that, by the end of 2022, more than 12,500 people will die due to cancers of the uterine body.
In response to the growing body of research, together with Clearya (a toxic ingredient alert app), BCPP has created the Non-Toxic Black Beauty Database. The resource aims to help Black women find and shop products that are free from toxic chemicals.