Paraben-free is a good thing, right? Well, let's find out!...
Parabens are a type of preservative that were introduced widely to the public in the 1950's. Nowadays, they are in about 85% of cosmetic products. Parabens work by preventing mold and bacterial growth, which is a big part of what makes cosmetic products go bad over time. Most commercially produced cosmetics are formulated to last for quite a while because they spend most of their life in storage. They are manufactured in large batches, then head to a warehouse where they sit and wait to be sent to stores. Then, they sit in the stores. And since pretty much all cosmetics have at least some water in them, parabens help keep the water from spoiling so the product stays "good" until you use it.
Most of the names for parabens have the word paraben in them, so they are pretty easy to spot on a label. Things like butylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben are the most common ones, but there are a few others.
The major concern with parabens has to do with hormones and our endocrine system. In the 1990's scientists figured out that parabens are "xenoestrogens". They are believe to mimic estrogen in the body, which can lead to hormone disruption and an increase in breast cell division, and that can trigger the growth of tumors. In 2004, a British doctor discovered parabens still lingering in 19 out of 20 malignant breast tumors, and all of this is why we are scared of parabens today.
One of the big problems with the whole "safe level" thing, is that parabens are in so many different products. So while your shampoo or facial cleanser may be ok to use on their own, when you combine them with body soap, lotion, moisturizer, toothpaste, hair products, deodorant, makeup, etc, etc, etc (and that's just basic personal care!) you can't be sure what level of exposure you reach on a daily basis! And that's just 1 day of your life.
And if parabens are able to be stored in the body, which was revealed after they were found in the malignant turmors, well, basically we have no idea what level we're at.
But here's a thing. LADIES, just so you know, the CDC found we have several times higher concentrations of parabens in our system than the boys. So....yeah.
There's also the problem of where parabens in products end up. The ones in cleansers, and shampoos, and the rest that get washed down the drain. That's right - they go down the drain! It' been tested too. When wastewater is processed in plants, there's a nasty residue leftover call BIOSOLID. About 50% of biosolids get made into - guess what - fertilizer! That's right! Fertilizer for land, fertilizer for FOOD, and fertilizer for your healthy home garden. And if you were wondering, Wastewater Treatment Plant biosolids were tested in 9 different US states, and 100% of the samples tested contained parabens.
Parabens have even been found in the bodies of marine animals, who clearly aren't using cosmetics, so they must be getting exposure from the water.
Here's the really scary part. When parabens get mixed in with our water system, they can under a chlorination reaction, and we end up with chlorinated parabens. Chlorinated parabens are believed to be 3-4 times more toxic than regular parabens. And the cycle continues.
So that's the dirty on parabens, and the reason why PARABEN-FREE is a big thing!
While they probably can't be completely avoided in normal, everyday life, you can definitely lessen your exposure to these chemically things by sticking with natural products when that makes sense for you. If you want to avoid parabens where you can, try looking for products made in smaller batches that aren't meant to be stored forever!
Watch my video below to see the full explanation. Leave me a comment if you have a questions! :)
What do YOU think of paraben exposure?? Worried or nah? :)
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON PARABENS, SULFATES, AND OTHER CHEMICALS AND COSMETICS,