Listen Live
Stone Soul 2024
The Box Richmond Featured Video
Black Woman getting a hair wash by male hairdresser at hair salon

Source: Capuski / Getty


Parabens are often found in hair care and beauty products marketed to Black women. The chemical helps to preserve the shelf life and stability of personal care products, but a new study published on Monday found that Black women may be at a higher risk of developing breast cancer from prolonged exposure to the preservative.

Parabens are commonly added to beauty products to prevent mold and bacteria from growing. However, researchers from the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners found that parabens like Methylparaben and hydroxybenzoate can act as endocrine disruptors that mimic estrogen in the body. According to the study, parabens can have an adverse impact on normal breast cells and potentially influence their abnormal growth. This can lead to an increased risk for breast cancer.

Additionally, the study found that parabens can also accelerate the spread of cancer cells in Black women at a higher rate. Researchers from the organization discovered the startling news after they analyzed the effects of parabens on breast cancer cells in Black women and white women. Parabens were found to increase the Black breast cancer cell lines but had little to no effect on the white breast cancer cell lines that were exposed to the same dose.

However, the chemical compound did appear to impact gene expression linked to breast cancer in both Black and white women.

BCPP noted that there may be some evidence to suggest parabens can block chemotherapy agents like Tamoxifen that help to treat the disease.


Where are parabens found?

Parabens are found in a number of personal care items including lotions, sunscreen, antiperspirants, makeup, and hair products. They may also be found in chewing gum and mouthwash.

Black women have a higher risk of dying from breast cancer

According to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Black women have a 41 percent higher death rate from breast cancer than other ethnic groups. Sadly, Black women under 50 are twice as likely to succumb to the disease than white women.

Pregnant women, fetuses, and young children are also incredibly vulnerable to paraben exposure. According to BCPP, breast tissue is more susceptible to endocrine disruptors at these stages in life.


How can you avoid Paraben exposure?

When you’re shopping for beauty and personal care products make sure to search for items that are labeled “paraben-free.”  Educate yourself on different parabens. The chemical can be listed under different names and synonyms which can deceive. Common parabens and their synonyms include:

    • propylparaben (or propyl 4-hydroxybenzoate),
    • butylparaben (or butyl 4-hydroxybenzoate),
    • ethylparaben (or ethyl 4-hydroxylbenzoate)
    • heptylparaben (or heptyl 4-hydroxybenzoate),
    • methylparaben (or methyl 4-hydroxybenzoate)


Federal Study Shows More American Teens Are Carrying Guns And Rich White Kids Are Leading The Increase

Study Shows Racism Is A Major Factor In Premature Births Among Black Women

New Study Finds Increased Risk Of Breast Cancer In Black Women Exposed To Parabens  was originally published on