Parabens are commonly used as a preservative in personal care products such as shampoos, soaps, toothpastes, deodorants, and many other products.

They are also present in many prepared foods, like mayonnaise, mustard, salad dressings, and candy. The only ingredient used more frequently is water.

Studies have indicated that parabens can affect the body much as estrogens do. This can lead to diminished muscle mass, extra fat storage, and male gynecomastia (breast growth). Some studies also show parabens contributing to the growth of breast tumors.More than a third of personal care products contain ingredients linked to cancer; further, only 11 percent of the more than 10,000 ingredients used in cosmetics have ever been tested for safety.Naturopathy Works March 2006

Dr. Mercola's Comment:If you'reconcerned about the harmful chemicals hidden in cosmetics and toiletries, you may want to review this excellent article by Colleen Huber (link above). Her article focuses on parabens, but she wisely advises you to avoid anysynthethetic productsas much as practically possible, toreduce your cancer risk.

It's a major concern. The Environmental Working Group found that only 28 common cosmetics and toiletries out of 7,500 had all oftheir ingredients fully tested for safety.

It's important to recognize that whatever you spread on your skin is frequently being absorbed into your bloodstream andpotentially causesome serious damage to your body. If you want to learn about the potential toxicity of your cosmetics, I urge you to review the EWG's extensive "Skin Deep Report."

To keep yourself safe, switch over to natural cleaning products and natural brands of toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics.

Some of Colleen Huber's excellent suggestions for healthier, natural alternatives include:

  • Deodorant -- A pinch of baking soda mixed into water is an effective all-day deodorant. I would also add that common soap and water work just fine too.
  • Shampoo and Soaps -- You can find clean, non-chemical soaps at many health food stores. To make them better shampoos, you can add rosemary oil.
  • Skin softener -- A bit of olive oil rubbed inside the nostrils can keep them from getting dry and rigid.
  • If you are concerned about the numerous toxic chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis, I strongly urge you to read Our Toxic World: A Wake Up Call. The author, Dr. Doris Rapp, does a thorough job of uncovering the many ways we are exposed to toxic chemicals and how they take a toll on our health and contribute to many chronic diseases.

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