Toxic Ingredient Spotlight- Parabens

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No one wants to purchase products and have them go moldy or find bacteria and microbes growing in them. We like to know that we will get value for our money and trust that the products we buy will last a certain amount of time. But, have you ever wondered what gets added to ensure products last the amount of time that they do?

Enter Parabens.

Have you heard of them? They are becoming more well known thanks to the increasing awareness that is being brought to the amount of toxic chemicals being used in our food, cosmetics, household and personal care products.

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What Are Parabens?

Parabens are a type of preservative used to prolong shelf life in many health and beauty products, allowing them to survive for months, even years, without going off and by preventing the growth of mould and bacteria within them. (1)

According to David Suzuki, from the David Suzuki Foundation, parabens are one of the most widely used preservative in cosmetics, personal care products, some prepared food, beverages and medications. (2)

There are a wide range of parabens with methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben being the most widely used substances.

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Are Parabens Safe?

There is so much conflicting information available that it’s hard to actually know who and what to believe. You have the ‘Powers that be’ saying that the amounts of toxic chemicals used in our products are used in small enough amounts to not have an effect on our health. On the other hand, alternative health and wellness experts tout the harmful dangers of toxic substances and how they can potentially lead to cancer.

My aim for this post isn’t to sway you either way, instead I want to provide you with enough information to make an informed choice. So, lets have a look at what the research has to say.

(Food and Drug Administration for USA) states that it doesn’t have any regulations around cosmetic products and ingredients and do not need approval before they go onto the market for us as consumers to purchase.

At this stage, FDA scientists do not have information showing that parabens as they are used in cosmetics have an effect on human health. While in Australia, there is no real regulation of specific chemicals used in cosmetics and personal care products.

Also, the Australian Society of Cosmetic Scientists (ASCC) states that no parabens have been banned in Australia. (4)

Europe on the other hand has taken steps to limit the use of common parabens in cosmetics and personal care products. (3)

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Why All The Fuss

So, if the authorities are claiming that parabens and other toxic chemicals are safe to be used in our food, beverages, cosmetics and personal care products, then what’s all the fuss about?

Well known health researcher Dave Suzuki from The David Suzuki Foundation, claims that parabens as well as other toxic chemicals can easily penetrate the skin and can interfere with hormonal function. (2)

Zuzuki claims that parabens can apparently mimic estrogen, the primary female sex hormone. They have been detected in human breast cancer tissues, suggesting a possible association between parabens in cosmetics and cancer.

Dr Mercola states that recent research has detected the presence of paraben esters in 99 percent of breast cancer tissues sampled (5)

He states that parabens are chemicals with estrogen-like properties, and estrogen is one of the hormones involved in the development of breast cancer. 

Other Names of parabens

Parabens are a group of chemicals, and to make it even more confusing, go by a number of names such as:

  • methylparaben

  • propylparaben

  • butylparaben

  • isobutylparaben

  • ethylparaben

What Should You Do?

Avoiding parabens and other harmful chemicals requires becoming an avid label reader.  If you’re concerned about you and your family’s exposure to potential harmful toxic chemicals here are some things you can do:

  1. A good habit to get into says Dr Mercola is to report any allergic reactions to your country’s governing body. The more people who report adverse reactions to certain products the more the authorities will hopefully sit up and take notice. (https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/07/12/cosmetic-products-adverse-effects-rising.aspx)

  2. Check out the EWG’s website (Environmental Workers Group). It has an extensive database to help you find personal care products free of potentially dangerous chemicals. Be aware that products labeled “all-natural” may still contain harmful chemicals, so it’s wise to check the full list of ingredients.

  3. Another place you might like to consider is a 25+ year old company known as MODERE.

    MODERE hold themselves to a higher standard. For more than 25 years, their products have been the first choice by customers around the world. Proven, trusted, original formulas delivered to market and anchored by a simple philosophy – if it doesn’t meet their standards of safety, it will never be part of their mix.

    MODERE prides themselves on avoiding over 3000+ toxic chemicals. So, if you're looking for safe, non-toxic personal care, household products, cosmetics and even nutritionals, check them out, compare them and see if what they say lives up to your standard.

    You only have your health and that of your family's at stake.  

REFERENCES

  1. ELLE, 2018, What are parabens? The Truth About The Skin Cares Biggest Guy. https://www.elle.com/uk/beauty/skin/articles/a36356/what-are-parabens/

  2. David Suzuki Foundation, The Dirty Dozen:Parabens. https://davidsuzuki.org/queen-of-green/dirty-dozen-parabens/

  3. LEXOLOGY, EU Limits Common Parabens in Cosmetics, Bans Use In Diaper Creams. https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=971e39c6-a7ac-4e7a-86f6-a57dcc161889

  4. ASCC, Preservatives Used In Personal Care Products. https://ascc.com.au/preservatives-used-in-personal-care-products-2/

  5. Dr Mercola, 2012, 40 Women With Breast Cancer Had Parabens In Their Tissue. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/04/02/toxic-parabens-on-breast-cancer-patients.aspx