'Your lipstick 'can give you cancer' | health and fitness | Hindustan Times
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'Your lipstick 'can give you cancer'

The chemicals in lipsticks interfere with the healthy development of breast tissue leading to cancer, reveals a study on rats.

health and fitness Updated: Dec 06, 2007 18:00 IST

With the twist of a stick and a couple of strokes, lipstick can transform your face from blah to bright in seconds. But ladies, give a second thought before lining your lips -- it can raise the risk of breast cancer. Researchers have carried out a study and found that the chemicals in lipsticks actually interfere with the healthy development of breast tissue leading to the cancer, the Daily Mail reported today.

"We are the first to report that neonatal or prepubertal exposure to butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) induced modifications in the gene expression of the mammary tissue.

"BBP is in the environment, so a constant exposure via inhalation and digestive tract can reach many different organs including the breast," lead researcher Dr Jose Russo of the Fox Chase Cancer Centre in America was quoted as saying.

BBP, the man-made substance, is part of the phthalate family of chemicals which mimic female sex hormone oestrogen. In fact, the researchers came to the conclusion after analysing the effects of BBP found in lipsticks on rodents. The team fed lactating rats with BBP, which was then absorbed by their offspring via breast milk. Subsequently, the baby rats were exposed to levels of the chemical.

They found that the chemical altered the genetic make-up of cells in the young female rat's mammary glands. Although the effects wore off once BBP was removed from the diet, the subtle changes could have an effect later in life.

"In this study, we found how the action of this compound present in everyday life affects the development of the rats. This is an indication that the same could happen in humans. Even if an individual is exposed to it in the beginning of life, BBP can cause alterations later in life.

"In this direction, we are evaluating if the exposure of this compound in young girls is associated with early puberty and breast development," Dr Russo said.