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Home > Info and Fun > Articles >The Problem with Parabens

The Problem with Parabens

What are parabens?
Parabens are a group of chemicals used as preservatives in lotions, conditioners, shampoos, deodorants.  They are listed on the label as methylparaben, butylparaben, ethylparaben, benzylparaben, isobutylparaben, and propylparaben.  They are sold under different cosmetic names, including Germaben II and LiquiPar Oil. 

What’s the big deal?
Since 2000, thirteen studies have shown that parabens display estrogenic activity.
Other studies have also shown that parabens have accumulated in breast cancer tissue.  Although paraben supporters claim that the body breaks the chemical down quickly, these studies show that complete parabens accumulated in the tumors, not being broken down at all.   It has been proven that excess estrogen does lead to reproductive cancers (like breast and uterine cancer), and it has been proven that parabens act like estrogen and accumulate in the body.  The dots haven’t been officially connected by the FDA, but the case for parabens looks pretty grim.  The European Journal of Cancer Prevention reported that “Frequency and earlier onset of antiperspirant/deodorant usage with underarm shaving were associated with an earlier age of breast cancer diagnosis.”  It is possible that the parabens (and other chemicals) in the antiperspirant are to blame for this. 

Does everyone agree about this?
Of course not.  Chemical and cosmetic companies love parabens because they give products long shelf lives and they’re cheap. 

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Why hasn’t the FDA banned them
Because they claim that the evidence is not conclusive. The FDA doesn't want to step on the cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies toes because of their close ties.

Does Bubble and Bee sell products with parabens?
Absolutely not.

Are parabens ever hidden under other names?
Some companies may incorrectly list their ingredients, putting the brand name Germaben II instead of listing the actual ingredients.

Sources:

Parabens and Breast Cancer, www.breastcancerfund.org

McGrath KG (2003). An earlier age of breast cancer diagnosis related to more frequent use of antiperspirants/deodorants and underarm shaving. European Journal of Cancer Prevention 12:479-485.