Sorry for the break, but 2-year-old birthdays are a lot of work- especially when you are travelling to a different state to host them!

So, let’s get to Parabens.

Parabens (ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben and propylparabenare a chemical preservative most commonly found in cosmetics, deodorants, moisturizers, make-up, shaving cream, sunscreens and toothpaste.  They can also be found in some processed meats and foods.  They can easily be absorbed through the skin, blood, and digestive system.

There are recommended concentration limits for each paraben, however, these recommendations do not account for the use of multiple parabens in a single product or for exposure to parabens from several products by a single individual.

Parabens are known to have oestrogenic properties, and oestrogen is known to play a central role in the development, growth and progression of breast cancer.

The research team led by Dr Philippa Darbre from the University of Reading studied tissue samples from 40 women undergoing mastectomies between 2005 and 2008 for first primary breast cancer in England.

In total, 160 samples were collected, four from each woman. They found 99 per cent of the tissue samples contained at least one paraben and 60 per cent of the samples had five.

The team found women who didn’t use underarm deodorants still had measurable parabens in their tissue, suggesting they must enter the breast from other sources.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics notes that while theses studies do not definitively find a a causal link between Parabens and breast cancer, the risk is still great and women should be cautious.

Of greatest concern is that parabens are known to disrupt hormone function, an effect that is linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity. Parabens mimic estrogen by binding to estrogen receptors on cells. They also increase the expression of genes usually regulated by estradiol (a form of estrogen); these genes cause human breast tumor cells to grow and multiply in cellular studies.

What can you do?

  • The products you use almost every day should be Paraben free.  Look for these ingredients to avoid: ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben.  Many companies are making Paraben free products with a shelf life of 6-12 months (most people will use up their personal care products in that time).
  • Make your own products, and make them more often.

Next Up: Toxin #8- Hydroquinone

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