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The danger of parabens (in cosmetics, skincare products, baby wash) and how they are absorbed.

Updated on November 10, 2012

Parabens for newborns?

No more tears? How about no more poisoning of our children?
No more tears? How about no more poisoning of our children? | Source
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What are parabens?

Parabens are a chemical substance used in everyday personal care items like body wash, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, baby wash, hand soap and pretty much any other product that you can pick up in the personal care aisle. They are listed on the label with words ending in "paraben" and also as fragrance.

Many people don't realize that the skin is the largest organ and what you put onto your skin goes directly into your bloodstream. Your body will then try to handle this toxin load through different channels. Parabens are found in breast tumors, and several other forms of cancerous tumors. To assume that they're safe because there is no immediate reaction is dangerous.

Let's get to some facts.

What's the harm in fragrance? It smells so wonderful!

I'll start with a short list:

  1. Endocrine disruption. The endocrine system is the driver of our hormonal functions. Hormones regulate nearly everything in the body. Endocrine disruptors trick the body into thinking that these are hormones, and the body will uptake them and use them as such.
  2. Biochemical and cellular-level changes. This means that gene-expression can be manipulated with these chemicals. Gene expression is potential - it's been said that genes are the bullet and environment is the trigger. We all have the potential to create cancer cells, but adding these chemicals can encourage cancer to form. Scary stuff. Keep reading.
  3. Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive). (I think this one is self-explanatory!)
  4. Allergies and immunotoxicity. This is a warning for allergy and asthma sufferers. Often people put dozens of parabens in their environment daily (think cologne, body spray, Febreeze, Glade). This can really wreak havoc - yet most people don't recognize the cause of their illness, and therefore never think twice about the array of products presented to us daily.
  5. Persistance and bioaccumulation: Bioaccumulation means that when this chemical gets into the body, you'll have a hard time getting it out. Some chemicals are easier to get rid of than others, and some can disappear a month or so after stopping use. Not true of parabens. They build up in the body, and traces of them are found in nearly all types of tumors.

TED Talks, The Toxic Baby

So now what?

I get it. It's hard to avoid every little bit of poison - and we are lead to believe that we're exposed to "trace amounts" of these chemicals. Not so. When you consider the dozen or so products you use each day, then read the label, you'll realize that each has 5-6 parabens on the label, plus fragrance.

Start checking your products on the Cosmetics Database. This is a great resource if you're new to finding green, clean healthy products. One safehaven that I've found is Safe Clean Cosmetics (Ava Anderson Non-Toxic). These products are free of parabens, artificial fragrance, PEG, pthalates and the list goes on. I personally spent four years trying products from Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and other so-called green retailers, only to find that I was overpaying for something that wasn't even safe. It was a HUGE disappointment because I thought I was buying green, when in fact I was just wasting green... LOL (as in CASH!). For a full review of Ava Anderson Non Toxic products you can check out my blog.

I found that having a single resource for my personal care products meant that I could stop worrying, and I no longer have to spend 30 minutes in the personal care aisle trying to find some overpriced "organic" product that was full of lies. Now, I just buy from one place, and I don't have to take out a microscope to read the label.

Stay healthy, check the label, then come on over to the other side!

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