A family of chemicals used as a preservative found in most cosmetic products.
Problem: Parabens exhibit hormonal (estrogen) activity; one study has linked transdermal (through the skin) application with breast cancer. Children and embryos are especially vulnerable to these endocrine-disrupting agents. There is growing concern regarding the cumulative effect over time and the impact on humans and wildlife.
Action: Check your cosmetics including: deodorant, lotions, creams, shampoos, gels, sunscreen products and make-up. Parabens are listed toward the end of the ingredient list. You are looking for any word that contains paraben, including: butylparaben, ethylparaben, germaparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben.
Solution: Read labels and avoid buying products with this preservative. You will have to shop at a health food store to find the product lines that are paraben-free.
What you might do when you realize that the bulk of your toiletry products contain parabens:
It is interesting to note that even companies that support breast cancer research contain parabens – shame on you, AVON.