Problematic Parabens


There are many hidden chemicals in personal care products which can be damaging to our health. In fact, a recent study found that small doses of certain chemical preservatives can be damaging to one’s health. These preservatives are known as parabens. Parabens are endocrine disruptors which harm the hormone system by mimicking the hormone estrogen. This can be very damaging because hormone disruption is linked to disease in later life and according to new studies, more aggressive cancer.

Parabens are so common that they were actually found in one fifth of the products tested by EWG. So, you may be wondering why parabens are so common if they are so dangerous. This is because there are many arguments that the amounts of parabens used in products are too low to impact health. However, a recent study noted that previous research only considered the effects of parabens alone while in the real world we are affected by a wide variety of chemicals which can work together to be more damaging. When tested against other chemical changes in breast cancer cells, parabens were linked to damage such as leading to faster tumor growth and malignant cancer.

This is because of parabens ability to mimic estrogen. Estrogen is an important hormone in our body which regulates many different processes. In fact, two thirds of breast cancer cells have estrogen receptors. This is significant because paragons mimic this common hormone and these studies found that even low doses of chain parabens such as butyl paraben can turn on cancer genes with cell receptors called HER receptors.

So, while previous studies claimed that low doses of parabens are safe, these new studies are proving that these low doses can become amplified with different receptors and biochemical environments. Luckily, you can keep yourself safe by avoiding these harmful preservatives by looking for paraben-free products using resources such as EWGs Skin Deep Database and by reading labels.

By Sara Frawley