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.
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