Sunday, February 14, 2010

What Are Parabens And Why Should You Avoid Them. | The Good Human

I had been meaning to post this a while ago and saw it on another blog. Its a good read on parabens and why they should be avoided. You may have heard about how you should avoid parabens in the products you buy, but you might be wondering why you should do so.

Parabens can be found in shampoos, commercial moisturizers, shaving gels, cleansing gels, personal lubricants, topical pharmaceuticals and toothpaste.
They are also used as food additives in some products. Basically, a huge percentage of the products you buy for everyday use contain some form of paraben, so it can be difficult to find products that do not use them.

Now, before anyone says anything, I know that there have been studies on both sides of the argument…parabens are bad and parabens are ok. But since there have been studies that say that it is not healthy, we have chosen to take the precautionary route and not use products containing them. Whether or not they are as bad as some say they are, I would rather err on the side of safety. Now, on to what parabens could be doing to your body.

For starters, Parabens can mimic the hormone estrogen, which is known to play a role in the development of breast cancers. Do you really want to take the chance that they might do so? In the July 2002 issue of the Archives of Toxicology , Dr. S. Oishi of the Department of Toxicology, Tokyo Metropolitan Research Laboratory of Public Health reported that exposure of newborn male mammals to butylparaben “adversely affects the secretion of testosterone and the function of the male reproductive system.” If that is not enough to avoid a product that can easily be avoided, I don’t know what is! There are a lot of other reports available all over the internet, but most of them are all related to reproductive health in some way or another. Not really something to mess with, huh?

The jury is still out on how and why parabens might affect development and growth of both babies and adults. There is no harm being careful with this kind of stuff…remember, things that were deemed safe in the past then came back to bite us all when we were told that they actually caused all sorts of diseases. And when they are safe alternatives available, I would rather not take the chance that my children develop strange reproductive problems.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in their report "Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in the Environment: Agents of Subtle Change?" reported that the chemical preservatives called parabens—methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl (alkyl-p-hydroxybenzoates)—displayed estrogenic activity in several tests. This means that these chemicals mimic your body´s own hormones and can have endocrine-disrupting action when they are rubbed into your body or washed down the drain into your drinking water. These disruptors interfere with your body´s endocrine system: your hypothalamus, your ovaries, your thyroid—virtually every system in your body. The EPA also stated that "continual introduction of these benzoates (parabens) into sewage treatment systems and directly to recreational waters from the skin leads to the question of risk to aquatic organisms." Scientists in Europe found other endocrine-disrupting body care chemicals in the bodies of fish that humans are eating, and in human breast milk.

Dr. Elizabeth Smith has written that "It is a known medical fact that estrogen stimulates breast cancer" and that "anything absorbed through the skin may be as high as 10 times the concentration of an oral dose." (Think about how nicotine and birth control/hormone patches work—the chemicals are absorbed through the skin!) She also reported that, in one study, a paraben was injected under the skin and was found to have an "estrogenic response on uterine tissues." Scientists observing these harmful effects on the uterus remarked that "it is suggested that the safety in use of these chemicals should be reassessed."

Endocrine disruptors are transported into the body, daily, via absorption through the skin and hair follicles when using personal care products. Now that we know that we absorb toxins through our skin, isn´t it important that body care products that claim to be organic should be as pure as the organic foods that we eat?

1 comment:

WesleyGripes said...

I just looked at my shampoos and lotions and they all have them inside. WTF!