"The EPA is very concerned about the antimicrobial preservatives called parabens (alkyl-p-hydroxybenzoates). Parabens are ubiquitous -- found in cosmetics, skin creams, sunscreen lotions, shampoos -- even pet food. The EPA states that all parabens -- methyl, propyl, butyl -- have been proven to have endocrine-disrupting effects. They are particularly concerned about the hormone-disrupting effects of nonoxynol (nonyl phenol) found in hair colorings, shampoos, and spermicides, and sunscreen chemicals such as benzophenone [oxybenzone] and methoxycinnamate. It is very disturbing to learn that many of these chemicals can be found in personal care products that claim to be "natural" and "organic." We feel that some companies who pretend to be natural and organic are among the worst of the environmental hypocrites."
"Concern over how parabens might mimic estrogen and links to cancer, as well as allergic sensitivities and irritation with hair care products containing parabens have caused many people to seek paraben-free alternatives. The FDA deems the chemicals safe, and they are widely used for their antimicrobial and preservative qualities. If you prefer to find paraben-free hair care products then read on...
1. Check the label on your shampoo and conditioner carefully for parabens. Commonly used parabens are propylparaben, ethylparaben and butylparaben.
2. Research online for paraben-free products. Check the ingredient lists and product descriptions carefully. If it is paraben-free, the manufacturer will most likely advertise it that way.
3. Read customer reviews online to help make your decision. Consider contacting the manufacturers of the products you find to request free samples to be mailed to you before your buy them.
4. Go to your local health food store. Most have a body care section featuring paraben-free shampoos, conditioners and styling products. Be sure to still check the label to make sure it is paraben-free. Bring a list with you of common paraben names if your find you can't remember them easily.
5. Try out different paraben-free hair products until you find the products that work best for your hair type and styling needs. Paraben-free hair care
LHCF also has a thread <<--click here to view "The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) reviewed the safety of methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben in 1984 and concluded they were safe for use in cosmetic products at levels up to 25%. Typically parabens are used at levels ranging from 0.01 to 0.3%...
A study published in 2004 (Darbre, in the Journal of Applied Toxicology) detected parabens in breast tumors. The study also discussed this information in the context of the weak estrogen-like properties of parabens and the influence of estrogen on breast cancer. However, the study left several questions unanswered. For example, the study did not show that parabens cause cancer, or that they are harmful in any way, and the study did not look at possible paraben levels in normal tissue....
FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens. However, the agency will continue to evaluate new data in this area. If FDA determines that a health hazard exists, the agency will advise the industry and the public, and will consider its legal options under the authority of the FD&C Act in protecting the health and welfare of consumers."
My conclusion? I don't know. Not that cancer, endocrine disorders, and the like aren't important but I am very hesitant about jumping band wagons and I must say I am not 100% convinced. Maybe 60%. Enough to avoid if I can at all so I can minimize my exposure to this (and other) harmful chemicals.