Dr. Scott Graves
According to a study published in Breast Cancer Research, it is suggested that male breast cancer has been on the rise for the past 15 years. A study in the 2004 Journal of Toxicology, found that “18 out of 20 breast tumors contained significant concentration of parabens.” This study did not conclude a link between them and cancer; however, it raises red flags.
What are parabens?
A paraben is a synthetic chemical preservative that is used in wide variety of personal care and cosmetic products. They prevent the growth of bacteria and also help products to last longer on the shelf. One report estimates that they are used in over 13,200 products on the market today. Before being altered, they actually are formed from an acid (p-hydroxy-benzoic acid) found in raspberries and blackberries.
What kinds of products contain parabens?
They are found in facial and body cosmetics, skin care products, hand and body soaps, shampoos, conditioners, sunscreens, colognes, perfumes, and underarm deodorants and antiperspirants. Most of the popular brands of the products generally listed above contain parabens. You can see parabens in products that are labeled many different ways. According to the FDA, methylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben are commonly used in cosmetics. Isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben and benzylparaben are other types of parabens.
Are they harmful?
The verdict is still out. No study has conclusively related parabens to cancer or other health problems. It has been noted that parabens have an estrogenic effect on the body, binding to receptor sites that normally are reserved for estrogen, which could have a harmful effect on the endocrine system of both men and women. If these sites were reserved for estrogen and are replaced by something else, is this a good thing?
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From a general health point of view, many people are sick today because their bodies are overloaded and overwhelmed with exposure to toxic substances. Our bodies are bombarded with toxic chemicals every day, and parabens are just another chemical preservative we have to contend with. If we put this on our bodies every day, it can accumulate to dangerous levels after thirty or forty years of exposure. A good rule of thumb is to avoid most everything that is not natural, altered in a laboratory or isolated in large amounts for a specific purpose.
Organic products from companies you can trust are recommended
When we begin to chemically alter nature or move away from nature is when we can start getting into trouble. Parabens may be one very small factor in a larger pool of other factors that all help to contribute to health issues.
Avoiding preservatives, whether in cosmetics, other personal care products and food is a good lifestyle choice. Many organic health products exist that don’t contain parabens or other chemicals. Ultimately, your health is in your hands and you should make your own informed choice.
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Dr. Scott Graves ND, MA, CNC, CNHP is a Florida-based Naturopathic Doctor who specializes in Naturopathic Medicine and Nutrition Response Testing. He offers free phone or in-office consultations and is available for radio and TV interviews. Visit his website here, friend him on Facebook, or email him at dr(at)drscottgraves.com.