So is there any actual evidence beyond conjecture that links parabens with breast cancer? This brings us to the question of the risk posed by underarm deodorants. For a news story, it is very helpful to focus on one particular type of product. We all find a specific threat much more compelling than a general one. And they are good culprits from a toxicologists point of view as well. They are applied frequently, often daily, to an area of the skin that is particularly rich in pores and with a good blood supply so could be an easy route whereby something could get into the body. So if you are suspicious of cosmetic ingredients then underarm products are going to be your first port of call.
Two studies have looked specifically at the question of whether the use of underarm products has any effect on age of onset of breast cancer. Both seem to be well conducted and properly controlled studies with reasonable numbers of participants. Unfortunately they come to different conclusions. One finds a link and one doesn’t.
What to do? Once again we don’t have any data that allows us to draw a conclusion one way or the other. And that’s before we even get into the argument about whether antiperspirants contain parabens.
The left breast is more likely to become cancerous than the right breast
It’s a curious fact that figures show that the left breast is more likely to develop cancer than the right one, and this observation forms the ninth point in the paper. How do we explain this? Everything has an explanation. Could it be that right handed people apply more deodorant under their left arm? And that the parabens therefore hit the left breast first?
Now this really is crazy stuff. If we know anything about the way the body works it is that things don’t simply diffuse through it. If they get through the skin, they won’t remain in the area they were first applied. I cannot think of a single example where this happens.
At last I have found something that I can wholeheartedly disagree with. This particular suggestion is manifestly wrong and can be dismissed. It doesn’t help much in the overall argument but it makes me feel better.