You’ve probably heard about the dangers of parabens in connection with cosmetics and personal care; they prevent bacteria from growing, but also mimic or interfere with estrogen in the body. Exposure to estrogen is one of the main factors in the development of breast cancer.
It was almost a decade ago that the first research was published revealing high concentrations of parabens in human breast tumors. Many companies began removing them from their ingredient lists, but they can still be found in many mainstream products including makeup, moisturizers, shaving gels, shampoos, personal lubricants and spray tan products.
Parabens are still the most widely used preservatives in personal care products, due to their low cost and outstanding preservative properties.
In March of 2012, the PCPC (Personal Care Products Council) asked the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) panel to re-evaluate the safety of parabens. They concluded that they are safe and the FDA approved and backed up this decision.
Not surprisingly, the PCPC is an independent trade association that represents more than 600 beauty brands globally, including Estee Lauder, Avon, Chanel and Philosophy, as well as Proctor & Gamble. They are also the ones who fund the CIR. Since most, if not all, of these companies use parabens in their line of products, their decision is likely rather biased.
Just two months prior to the FDA’s conclusion, there was more scientific evidence of the link between parabens and breast cancers.
The lead author of a study from the University of Reading, Dr. Philippa Darbre, noted, “parabens are used as preservatives in thousands of cosmetic, food and pharmaceutical products but this is the first study to show their accumulation in human tissues.
It demonstrates that if people are exposed to these chemicals, then the chemicals will accumulate in their bodies. Their detection in human breast tumours is of concern since parabens have been shown to be able to mimic the action of the female hormone oestrogen and oestrogen can drive the growth of human breast tumors.”
Dr. Darbre added, “it would therefore seem especially prudent to consider whether parabens should continue to be used in such a wide range of cosmetics applied to the breast area (including antiperspirants/deodorants).”
Because parabens can get into the bloodstream by being absorbed through the skin, it was initially thought that this was the reason for the high concentration of the toxin found in humans, but increasing evidence has found that it is much higher than what could be explained with the use of body lotions, deodorants and cosmetics.
Scientists believe they have discovered the answer: parabens have also contaminated our food supply. Researchers from the New York State Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, along with the University of New York at Albany determined in a study of foods purchased from local markets that much of the U.S. food supply is contaminated with these carcinogens.
This study found that in 90% of the food samples tested, there were measurable concentrations of parabens; pancake syrup had the highest levels, along with muffins, pudding, turkey roast and iced tea.
The use of parabens in processed foods has been steadily rising, including in salad dressings, condiments like mustard and mayonnaise, processed vegetables, frozen foods, soft drinks and baked goods.
There is already a practically endless list of reasons to avoid processed foods; if you haven’t eliminated them from your diet, it’s time to stop procrastinating. Your health, and even your life, could be at stake.
-The Alternative Daily