For those of you who took our Chemical Free Home class recently, you will remember this post. It is the exact same one about parabens in household cleaners!! SAY WHAT?!?! The same toxic ingredients used to clean my toilet are in my skincare products and toothpaste?!? YUCK!!!!!!!!
So here's the scoop: This is a big one. In the heinous, you-should-avoid-these-at-all-costs kind of way.Parabens are in EVERYTHING. No joke. They are in a lot our food products, they are in our cosmetics and healthcare products, they are in pharmaceuticals, and they are in our cleaners and home care products. What are they, exactly? Well, turns out these little toxic black widows have the ability to curb bacteria growth. Added to cosmetics and lotions, your dirty little hands and bacteria laden cheeks won’t cause rapid overgrowth of bacteria thanks to the efforts of parabens. Added to your food it, too, can resist the nasty grasping fingers of bacteria and fungus growth. Of course, you want it in your cleaners, right? Spray it on anything and you’ve got the shield of bacteria death! Except… wait… parabens are estrogen mimickers in the worst way. They aren’t a natural plant phytoestrogen. Nope…they are a synthetic, chemically derived estrogen mimicking growth factory, aiding and abetting the proliferation of excess cellular growth with disastrous levels of toxicity. Imagine… you put your deodorant on… filled with parabens. Your unsuspecting armpit all clean shaven with its open pores just waiting to absorb the sweat-inhibiting properties of your favorite brand is coated in a thick layer of paraben chemical soup. What’s a body to do? Well, soak it up of course! Do you know recent findings have shown breast tumors to have all the common constituents of deodorants along with a high concentration of parabens? Frightening.
According to Breast Cancer Fund Organization: Measurable concentrations of six different parabens have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors (Darbre, 2004). The particular parabens were found in relative concentrations that closely parallel their use in the synthesis of cosmetic products (Rastogi, 1995). Parabens have also been found in almost all urine samples examined from a demographically diverse sample of U.S. adults through the NHANES study. Adolescents and adult females had higher levels of methylparaben and propylparaben in their urine than did males of similar ages (Calafat, 2010). Higher levels of n-propylparaben were found in the axilla quadrant of the breast (the area nearest the underarm) (Barr, 2011). Parabens are estrogen mimickers (agonists), with the potency of the response being related to the chemical structure (Darbre, 2008). Parabens can bind to the cellular estrogen receptor (Routledge, 1998). They also increase the expression of many genes that are usually regulated by the natural estrogen estradiol and cause human breast tumor cells (MCF-7 cells) to grow and proliferate in vitro (Byford, 2002; Pugazhendhi, 2007).
Nasty little parabens have been found to cause reproductive toxicity, including reduced testosterone levels in men and fetal developmental issues affecting the reproductive organs in pregnant women. If all that wasn’t enough, parabens – especially methylparaben—can lead to UV-induced damage of skin cells and disruption of cell proliferation (cell growth rate). Combined with other estrogenic chemicals present in cosmetics and lotions, this has been shown to result in possible formation and development of malignant melanoma, one form of skin cancer.
Look for these on the ingredient list and AVOID: methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben, 4- hydroxybenzoic acid, propyl ester, propyl 4-hydroxybenzoate, benzoic acid, and 4-hydroxybutyl ester