The Growing Concern of Parabens
Paraben : a group of chemicals used as preservatives in food and cosmetic products.
This class of chemical is also known as esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid. Some common names include benzylparaben, isobutylparaben, butylparaben, n-propylparaben, ethylparaben, and methylparaben.
“man-made chemicals accumulated in the breast tissue after being absorbed through the skin”
Recent evidence from over a dozen scientific studies has indicated that several types of parabens can bind to the estrogen receptor and cause estrogen-like responses when tested in laboratory animals or in a variety of tissue cultures. In studies using animals, the estrogenic effects were not found when fed, only when applied to or injected into the skin. There is no comprehensive research regarding the long-term effects of low-dose paraben use.
In these studies, the researchers looked at twenty human breast tumours and found synthetic chemicals known as parabens in eighteen of them. The level of parabens in four of the tumours so high that it could have had a damaging biological effect on cells. It is the first time parabens (para-hydroxybenzoic acids) have been detected within tumours, suggesting that the man-made chemicals accumulated in the breast tissue after being absorbed through the skin.
What’s in your skincare? Have a look in your bathroom, if you dare…
A recent study linked parabens with breast cancer: "Concentration of Parabens in Human Breast Tumors." Darbre, PD. et al. J. Appl. Toxicol. 24, 5-13 (2004).
Parabens have been used as preservatives since the 1920s. They are used as they are a cheap ingredient and can prevent the growth of bacteria for many, many years, extending the shelf life of big brand products. By far the most prevalent use has been in skin, hair & body care products. Many “natural” brands unfortunately still use parabens today.
- Toni McMahon