Household Chemicals: Parabens

Everyday items like shampoo, makeup and toothpaste can have dangerous parabens in them.

Learn how to limit your exposure to parabens that can cause breast tumors:

Found in: Toothpaste, makeup, moisturizers, shampoos, sunscreens and personal lubricants

What they are: Parabens are chemicals that keep fungi and bacteria at bay.

Health concerns: One study found parabens in the breast tumors of 18 out of 20 women. Although research has not shown that parabens cause breast cancer, experts say there might be a connection, because parabens mimic estrogen, which is known to play a role in breast cancer. Consumer concerns have led some manufacturers of toothpaste and other personal-care products to offer paraben-free alternatives.

Stay safe: Read product labels closely. Parabens are always listed in the ingredients. Look for words ending in paraben, such as methylparaben and butylparaben. If you see them anywhere on the ingredients list, be wary of buying the product and search for a comparable one that doesn’t contain the chemicals. Many prominent companies (such as Burt’s Bees) and brands (like Nature’s Gate Organics ) do not use parabens.