A program of Breast Cancer Prevention Partners

Personal Care Product Use During Puberty May Impact Future Breast Cancer Risk 

Breast tissue undergoes rapid changes during puberty and may be vulnerable to the effects of chemicals in personal care products. In a recent study by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), researchers examined personal care product use in girls aged 10-13 years along with breast cancer cases in over 45,000 women of different races and ethnicities. Although there was no clear product class associated with breast cancer diagnosis, there were differences in how specific racial groups used personal care products. For instance, higher breast cancer hazard was characterized by greater use of nail and hair products among Black and Latina women. Individual products such as lipstick, perfume, and nail products increased breast cancer risk among different racial groups. According to the authors, these findings provide some evidence that frequent personal care product use during puberty is associated with increased breast cancer risk, especially among racially and ethnically minoritized groups. More research is needed to determine whether reducing personal care product use during this critical developmental window may reduce breast cancer risk. However, there is sufficient research indicating that endocrine disrupting chemicals such as phthalates, parabens, and phenols are linked to breast cancer, and thus, products containing these chemicals should be avoided.

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