Spotlight on Parabens

December 15, 2006

Spotlight on Parabens

A family of chemicals used as a preservative found in most cosmetic products.

Problem: Parabens exhibit hormonal (estrogen) activity; one study has linked transdermal (through the skin) application with breast cancer. Children and embryos are especially vulnerable to these endocrine-disrupting agents. There is growing concern regarding the cumulative effect over time and the impact on humans and wildlife.

Action: Check your cosmetics including: deodorant, lotions, creams, shampoos, gels, sunscreen products and make-up. Parabens are listed toward the end of the ingredient list. You are looking for any word that contains paraben, including: butylparaben, ethylparaben, germaparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben.

Solution: Read labels and avoid buying products with this preservative. You will have to shop at a health food store to find the product lines that are paraben-free.

What you might do when you realize that the bulk of your toiletry products contain parabens:

  • You hate to waste things, so you decide to use up the products that you have and to replace them the next time you go shopping.
  • Dump them into a huge bag and take it to your nearest toxic waste facility.
  • Go along your merry way and do nothing (not advised).

It is interesting to note that even companies that support breast cancer research contain parabens – shame on you, AVON.