Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Beware of Parabens

Do you know that there is NO agency in the United Stated that oversees the ingredients in personal care products? None. We take it for granted that the items we put on our bodies are safe. But we should not make that assumption. The FDA does not test what companies put in their make up, shampoo, deodorant or toothpaste. It is up to the consumer to look at the ingredients list and become educated about the myriad of names printed on the packaging. Unfortunately, there are several chemicals that are commonplace but have negative side effects. The most prevalent and potentially dangerous are PARABENS.  It is a chemical used as a preservative in a whole slew of products. The problem is that it has been shown to mimic estrogen in the body and has actually been found in cancerous breast tissue samples. It may also be a factor in reproductive issues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention screened the urine of a sampling of Americans and found traces of parabens in MOST people tested. Our skin is highly absorbent. So whatever goes on it - on our lips, eyelids, feet, etc. - goes into us. Our bloodstream. Our tissues. Our organs. This is scary stuff and not something we should stick our heads in the sand about. We need to be proactive and make informed decisions about what we purchase and how we use it. The European Union will ban five specific parabens this month. We need to urge the ban of these cheap hormone disruptors in the U.S. as well.

So how do you identify the presence of these nasty chemicals? Well, be prepared to put on your reading glasses because you are going to have to carefully peruse the ingredients list of just about every personal care product you own. Look for anything ending in "paraben" such as methylparaben, butylparaben, or
propylparaben. You'll be dismayed at how commonplace they are.

Check the following items for parabens:

  • Hair products such as shampoos, gels, etc.
  • Shaving Cream
  • Deodorant
  • Lotions
  • Toothpaste
  • Make Up

Thankfully, there are companies that do not use parabens. Some to look for are St. Ives, Burts Bees and Origins.They make great products and you can feel safe as you are using them.

It's not always easy to face the truth or to make changes. But isn't better to err on the side of caution and eliminate potentially dangerous chemicals from our lives? We have nothing to lose and our health to gain.

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