Parabens are chemicals used to preserve cosmetics, industrial products and pharmaceuticals. They're used to help preserve these products and to help prevent the growth of potentially harmful germs. The use of parabens is controversial and some people choose to avoid them because of a possible link to breast cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says parabens are safe for use by consumers.
There are different types of parabens. According to the FDA, methylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben are commonly used in cosmetics. Isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben and benzylparaben are other types of parabens.
Parabens help health and beauty products maintain longer shelf lives. Parabens also help prevent microbial contamination in makeup. According to the FDA, parabens are often used with other preservatives. This helps keep the concentration of parabens low.
Consumers can read the labels of their favorite products to see if they contain any kind of parabens. By law, the ingredients must be listed on the label. Products that may contain parabens are moisturizers, hair care products, makeup, shaving products and personal lubricants. The FDA says most deodorants and antiperspirants don't contain parabens.
The benefits of parabens include keeping cosmetic products from breaking down and giving them a longer shelf life. This helps keep products safer for consumers, which then helps companies' reputations and bottom lines.
The Cosmetic Ingredient Review studied the safety of butylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben in 1984. That study concluded that parabens are safe for use in cosmetic products at levels up to 25 percent. The FDA says parabens are "normally used at levels ranging from 0.01 to 0.3 percent."
Scientific Approval of Parabens
While the jury is still out---and the ACS and NCI agree that more research needs to be conducted---the majority of scientists agree that the low rate of estrogenic activity that parabens display, coupled with the small percentage of parabens found in cosmetics, drugs and food, ensure that parabens are safe. An analysis of the estrogenic properties of parabens published in "Critical Reviews in Toxicology" in 2005 proclaimed that the possibility of parabens increasing the risk of breast cancer was improbable.
The Cosmetic Ingredient Review, or CIR, first determined paraben use safe in cosmetics in 1984. CIR completed an additional assessment of parabens in 2005 based on additional findings and research, such as the 2004 study linking parabens to breast cancer. The CIR stands by its original assessment, maintaining the safety of paraben use.
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/148982-paraben-safety/#ixzz1SomREoLf
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