ISLAMABAD:  Chemicals are particularly harmful at puberty and during pregnancy. . Low doses of a chemical found in shampoos and cosmetic products has been linked to breast cancer in a new study.
 
Parabens, also found in a range of body lotions and sunscreens, have previously been linked with the disease but new research suggests much smaller amounts could be dangerous.
 
And researchers believe that exposure to these chemicals are particularly harmful at puberty and during pregnancy, different research centres across the US found.
 
Parabens activate the production of oestrogen, mimicking the natural hormone oestradiol. Both oestradiol and oestrogens have been linked to breast cancer and reproductive problems.
 
Lead investigator Dale Leitman, a gynaecologist and molecular biologist, said: “Although parabens are known to mimic the growth effects of oestrogens on breast cancer cells, some consider their effect too weak to cause harm.
 
 Parabens, found in shampoo, are already thought to cause breast cancer “But this might not be true when parabens are combined with other agents that regulate cell growth.”
 
The study focused on the multiple hormone-mimicking chemicals people come in to contact with each day and how they might intereact.
 
Co-author Chris Vulpe said: “While this study focused on parabens, it’s also possible that the potency of other oestrogen mimics have been underestimated by current testing approaches.”
 
Catherine Priestley, Clinical Nurse Specialist at Breast Cancer Care, said: “This is incredibly early research. Extensive further study is needed to establish a full understanding of the link between parabens and breast cancer risk.
 
“It is important for women to remember that while making changes to your lifestyle may help to reduce your risk, they can’t prevent breast cancer completely.
 
“The two main risk factors for breast cancer remain out of our control: being female and getting older.”