PARABENS – Meet the Chemical Families

PARABENS – the body-polluting preservatives

The majority of our exposures to parabens come from our personal care products – shower gels, lotions, toothpaste, mouthwash, shaving cream and deodorant, etc but they are also found in some beers, sauces, jams, and preserved foods and syrups.

In most ingredient lists they are in plain sight with the name “-paraben,” so it was actually quite easy for me to avoid exposures and minimize the amount of parabens I had in my body in just a matter of days. They are excreted in 1-4 days from the body so when you change out paraben-containing products, they are gone very quickly. It’s our multiple products with parabens being used daily that cause our bodies to build up more and more.

92% of Americans have at least one measurable paraben in their body. The use of propyl- and butylparaben is restricted in the EU, Southeast Asian nations and Japan, but those are GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) in the United States.

By looking out for paraben-free labels and any product that has -paraben or 4-hydroxybenzoate listed in the ingredients, you can minimize your exposure to this chemical family just like I did in OVERLOAD.

Uses: cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, foods, beverages

Function: prevents the growth of mold, bacteria & yeasts, increases shelf-life & stability

Names: methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, butyl 4-hydroxylbenzoate

How to Avoid Them: read ingredient lists and look for products labeled “paraben-free”

Health Impacts: mimics estrogen potentially affecting normal breast cells & influencing their abnormal growth, endocrine disruptor linked to developmental & male & female reproductive harm

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