Parabens have been in use since the 1950's to prevent bacteria/fungus growth, and are widely used as preservatives in cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food products. They are commonly found in such everyday items as shampoos, deodorants, moisturizers, shaving gels, topical/parenteral pharmaceuticals, spray tanning solution, makeup and toothpaste—as well as some 90 percent of typical grocery items. For example, EWG’s findings reveal that this preservative is included in many of the snack foods we consume. No wonder that even those who steer clear of potentially harmful personal care products may also carry parabens around in their bloodstreams.
“The largest concern is that parabens are known to disrupt hormone function, an effect that is linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity,” reports the non-profit Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC). “Parabens mimic estrogen by binding to estrogen receptors on cells.” Research has shown that the perceived influx of estrogen beyond normal levels can in some cases trigger reactions such as increasing breast cell division and the growth of tumors.
Interestingly, propyl paraben was banned in food sold in the European Union after researchers found that parabens affected sex hormones and sperm counts in young rats.
When will the USA wake up? And where will we see these next?