THE Sunday Times (11th January 2004) reports that the strongest link yet identified between the use of anti- perspirants and rising rates of breast cancer has been revealed in a new study.

According to new research carried out by Philippa Darbre, a lecturer in cellular and molecular biology at Reading University, chemicals known as parabens which are used as preservatives in underarm cosmetics have been detected in human tumours.

Research suggests that parabens, most commonly found in spray-on deodorants, can be absorbed directly into the skin and are also thought to disrupt hormones in ways that can lead to cancer. There are potential risks of long-term use of deodorants and the possible dangers of excessive use by teenagers.

Low levels of parabens are also present in other cosmetics, and in some food and pharmaceutical products. Britons are among the world's biggest users of deodorants, spending about £400m a year on products containing parabens.

With about 20,000 Breast Cancer cases a year detected in the late 1970s rates had nearly doubled by the new millenium. Almost 13,000 British women die each year from the disease - one of the world's highest rates.

 She has now found evidence of the presence of the chemicals in cancerous body tissue at levels that she says give cause for concern.

Earlier research revealed the possibility of a link between parabens and breast cancer, whereas new research on tissue from 20 cancer sufferers, shows the high levels of parabens that had been absorbed in four of the tumours could have had a damaging biological effect on cells.

Further research is called for.

NHH suggests using deodorants using only natural ingredients- click here to find out more