There is no proven link between breast cancer and household products, but a variety of goods contain hormone disruptors, chemicals that can mimic or interfere with hormones such as estrogen. Some researchers believe that these chemicals can cause normal breast cells to divide.
“Each time they divide, they have the risk of copying DNA incorrectly and creating mutations, which may lead to increased breast cancer risk,” says Suzanne Snedeker, PhD, the associate director for translational research..
“We are not saying if you use a certain product with these ingredients it will cause breast cancer,” Snedeker says. “But the science suggests your risk may be reduced if you avoid them.” Here are a few ways to play it safe.
1. Read ingredient labels
It is perfectly legal for companies to use ingredients linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, and reproductive harm in the cosmetics and personal care products we use every day.
2. Don’t be fooled by natural and organic claims
These words have little meaning in the largely unregulated personal care products industry. Natural doesn’t always mean safe (for example, lead) and not all synthetic ingredients are harmful.
3. Avoid fragrance
The word fragrance is a cocktail of ingredients and may include dozens or more potentially harmful chemicals, and can be found in nearly half of all personal care products. Avoid purchasing and using products with the word fragrance or parfum on the label.
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4. Revamp your beauty routine
Ditch your old daily routine and replace it with safer cosmetics and personal care products. If it’s too much to do all at once, switch over one product at a time.
5. Use Online Tools to Find Safer Products
Apps and websites like ThinkDirty, EWG’s Skin Deep, and the Good Guide will rate your personal care products for safety and toxicity.
6. Use products with the MADE SAFE® seal
MADE SAFE® is helping to make it easier to find safer products by labeling them with a special seal. Learn how they certify the safety of personal care and other consumer products, and where you can find them.
7. Choose safer hair and nail salons
Look for healthy nail and hair salons in your community that use safer products. If you can’t find a healthy nail salon in your community, bring your own nontoxic nail polish.