By Underground Health Reporter

Parabens [para-hydroxybenzoic acid] are preservatives used in personal care products to kill bacteria and preserve shelf life.  They are used in lotions, personal lubricants, topical pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, shaving creams and gels, tanning creams, sunscreens, hair care products and antiperspirants/deodorants.

Parabens lead to breast cancerCommon Names for Parabens

  • Methylparaben
  • Ethylparaben
  • Propylparaben
  • Butylparaben
  • Isopropylparaben
  • Isobutylparaben

Scientists from around the world have discovered that these compounds mimic estrogen in the human body and may increase your risk of breast cancer.  Multiple paraben compounds are often used in a single product.

However, some experts – including the National Cancer Institute – have said “more evidence is needed” before they clearly mark parabens as a cancer-causing additive.  They point to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of parabens as safe, noting that the FDA “does not have any evidence or research data that ingredients in underarm antiperspirants or deodorants cause cancer.”

The National Cancer Institute contradicts their own claims that parabens are safe by listing several studies that have found a definitive link between parabens and breast cancer.

The Fine Print – FDA “Approval” of Parabens

What many people may not realize is that the FDA approval is based on oral intake of parabens.  Their approval is for the compounds used in the making of toothpaste, as a frozen dairy product preservative, a soda additive and in various pharmaceuticals –which include contraceptives, pills, syrups and injectable medications.

Not Knowing Does Not Equal “Safe”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states the problem much more clearly.  “Human health effects from environmental exposure to low levels of parabens are unknown.”  They go on to state that in their Nutrition Examination Survey in 2005-2006, they tested the urine of more than 2,500 Americans – over age six – and found measurable paraben levels in most of those tested which indicates extensive contact with this compound in their daily lives.

Women had levels of parabens far higher than men which indicated to the CDC that they are using products containing these compounds more often.

One study at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom found that 99% of women in their study who’d opted for mastectomy had parabens present in the removed breast tissue.

Better Safe than Sorry

President of, Marisa Weiss, MD, explained, “There are parabens in many personal care  products that can be taken into the body in different ways.  Our tissues can be storage lockers for parabens. Avoid products that contain hormonally active ingredients.I use things that are good enough to eat.”  Dr. Weiss is also the director of Breast Radiation Oncology and Breast Health Outreach, Lankenau Medical Center.

Studies published in the journalsToxicology and Chemical Research in Toxicology found that parabens applied to the skin – such as via sunscreen or tanning lotion – increased DNA damage and sped up skin aging.

How Much Exposure is Considered “Low Level”

paraben freeThe FDA states on their site that “parabens are used at very low levels in cosmetics” – and that the estrogen-mimicking properties are minimal.  This is theoretically true – but consider this:

If you are using multiple products every day of your life – sometimes several times a day as you touch up your makeup, reapply deodorant or add an additional layer of sunscreen – what are the cumulative effects?

If every time you wash your body, style your hair, shave, brush your teeth, apply deodorant, put on makeup, apply skin creams, or consume a food or beverage that contains parabens – how much are you actually absorbing into your body?

How safe can a synthetic compound be under those conditions? Government agencies may not be standing behind the link between parabens and cancer – but do you really want to gamble with your health?  There are natural, paraben-free products available.  You do not have to bet on parabens being safe to use.  Many studies touting their safety were sponsored by the cosmetic and food manufacturing industries.

Are those studies impartial?  Discover about the long-term effects of parabens and how it can increase your cancer risk.


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