The Truth About Parabens
The National Organic Program prohibits chemical preservatives in products that are labeled “organic.” So what are chemical preservatives such as methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl parabens doing in personal care products labeled “organic?”
There are many delightful organic foods that contain no preservatives. Read the labels on your organic honey, maple syrup, vinegar, olive oil, sugar, raisins, peanut butter and wine. These foods are considered by the FDA to be “self-preserving” and contain no preservatives. This means that, because of certain inherent qualities, these foods are naturally stable and not overly susceptible to contamination from bacteria.
Organic herbal medicinal tinctures made from high quality organic herbs and organic grain alcohol are shelf-stable for around two to three years. True castile soap, liquid or bars, has an excellent shelf-life of up to eighteen months or longer and requires no preservatives. Wouldn´t you prefer body care products that are fresh (like the food you eat) rather than several years old?
A self-preserved 100% organic moisturizing body oil made from organic sunflower oil, organic cocoa butter, organic coconut oil, organic peppermint oil and organic spearmint oil can have a shelf-life of up to 18 months.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in their report “Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in the Environment: Agents of Subtle Change?” reported that the chemical preservatives called parabens—methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl (alkyl-p-hydroxybenzoates)—displayed estrogenic activity in several tests. This means that these chemicals mimic your body´s own hormones and can have endocrine-disrupting action when they are rubbed into your body or washed down the drain into your drinking water. These disruptors interfere with your body´s endocrine system: your hypothalamus, your ovaries, your thyroid—virtually every system in your body. The EPA also stated that “continual introduction of these benzoates (parabens) into sewage treatment systems and directly to recreational waters from the skin leads to the question of risk to aquatic organisms.” Scientists in Europe found other endocrine-disrupting body care chemicals in the bodies of fish that humans are eating, and in human breast milk.
Dr. Elizabeth Smith has written that “It is a known medical fact that estrogen stimulates breast cancer” and that “anything absorbed through the skin may be as high as 10 times the concentration of an oral dose.” (Think about how nicotine and birth control/hormone patches work—the chemicals are absorbed through the skin!) She also reported that, in one study, a paraben was injected under the skin and was found to have an “estrogenic response on uterine tissues.” Scientists observing these harmful effects on the uterus remarked that “it is suggested that the safety in use of these chemicals should be reassessed.”
Endocrine disruptors are transported into the body, daily, via absorption through the skin and hair follicles when using personal care products. Now that we know that we absorb toxins through our skin, isn’t it important that body care products that claim to be organic should be as pure as the organic foods that we eat?