A chemical widely used as a preservative in cosmetics, food products and pharmaceuticals has been found in tissue samples from 40 women with breast cancer.
A number of studies since 1998 have raised concerns about the potential role of these parabens in breast cancer as they possess oestrogenic properties.
Oestrogen is known to play a central role in the development, growth and progression of breast cancer.
Parabens are a chemical compound found in everyday toiletry products including moisturisers, make-up, shaving foam, tanning lotions and toothpaste.
They are also found in numerous brands of underarm deodorant. However, a causal link has never been found between them and breast cancer.
They are present in processed meats such as sausages, pies and pastries along with other savoury snacks.