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The Truth About Parabens

By: Carol and Rob Trow
Posted: June 30, 2010, from the July 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
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Because of the fire storm brewed by the Darbre study, many respected organizations—government and otherwise—have released findings supporting the idea that parabens in topical cosmetics are not a danger to consumers.

The ACS. The American Cancer Society (ACS) has concluded, based on its research findings, that there is not good science to support a claim that the use of parabens in cosmetics can increase an individual’s risk of developing breast cancer.7

The FDA. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began studying the effects of parabens in response to the outcry of their potential estrogenic effect and link to breast cancer.9, 10 The FDA states that parabens are safe for use in cosmetics, and it also says that, based on the weight of all the current scientific evidence, there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of products containing parabens.

The CIR. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), an organization that reviews and assesses the safety of ingredients used in cosmetics in an open, unbiased and expert manner, consolidated more than 265 studies in The Journal of Toxicology that noted a women’s daily cosmetic regimen using products that contain parabens caused no adverse reproductive effects and confirmed the safety of parabens.11

SCANCOS. Because the issue of parabens is still a controversial one, the Scandinavian Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCANCOS) presented the latest round of studies regarding parabens in 2009. The goal was to determine if there was an estrogenic and harmful effect to humans from parabens. This study confirmed the results of a number of other research studies that concluded parabens are metabolized rapidly by the body and therefore cannot exhibit any adverse effects.12