For Personal Care… Go Paraben and Phthalate Free!


Hi Everybody! My name is Alexis Bermingham and this is my second semester with the Protect Our Breasts Team! As the researcher for Personal Care products, I’m here to share about toxic ingredients and offer ways to protect ourselves.

As we approach the end of October, I’m sure the topic of Breast Cancer has crossed your mind in one-way or another. The other day I made my way down the personal care aisle in the grocery store, and a sea of pink ribbons flooded my vision.  In past Octobers, I believed “think pink” equals breast cancer, when all along I should have been more concerned with “think labels.” To my dismay, as I picked up products with pretty pink ribbons, I found that some contained ugly cancer causing chemicals.

By no means am I saying that all “pink” products can’t be trusted; I’m just saying to ensure you’re choosing a safe product and avoiding chemicals that contribute to breast cancer, you should always read the ingredients! While there are over a thousand probable endocrine disruptors and/or mammary gland carcinogens, two of the most prominent in personal care products are parabens and phthalates.

According to the Breast Cancer Fund, “Parabens are a group of compounds widely used as a preservative in creams, lotions, ointments, underarm deodorants and other cosmetics. They are absorbed through the skin and have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors. Phthalates are a group of endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are found in cosmetics like nail polish and in synthetic fragrance. Phthalate exposure has been linked to early puberty in girls, a risk factor for later-life breast cancer. Some phthalates also act as weak estrogens in cell culture systems.”

Thankfully, many companies are starting to include language on their packaging such as Paraben and Phthalate Free! Also, you can check the saftey rating on products you already own, and to find safer alternatives, by plugging them into the EWG Skin-Deep Database (

As a researcher for Protect Our Breasts, I continue to discover that when it comes to breast cancer, the choices we make today, and the products we use, will have a direct effect on us in the future. Always remember that beauty is more than skin deep!!


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