Thursday, November 20, 2008

parbens: dirty ingredient #1

Over on method's people against dirty blog, Drummond Lawson gives us a short, but informative lesson on those evil parabens (and seriously, you'd be shocked at how many of your products contain them! I about had a stroke when I started looking at ingredients in random items around my house!)

"Parabens are one of several ‘boogie man’ ingredients found in cosmetics and personal care products – ingredients that cause alarm, but that often aren’t very well understood. We don’t use parabens in any of our products, and here’s why.

First off, the science lesson: Parabens are a class of preservatives (meaning they stop bacteria from growing), commonly used in cosmetics and other personal care products like shampoos, body washes and liquid soaps. While they’re cheap and effective, there have been a few concerns about the health effects of using them.

First of all, and most frequently cited, is the possible link between parabens and breast cancer. A 2004 study found concentrations of intact parabens in human breast cancer tissue samples. Even though these concentrations were very low, it showed that parabens were entering the human body and accumulating in cancer tissue. The study did not show that the parabens caused the tumors, just that they were accumulating in them – a smoking gun, but not proof.

The second concern about parabens is their ability to mimic estrogen in the body, also known as endocrine disruption. Even though the effects aren’t fully understood yet, they could also pose a health risk or even be related to the cancer concerns above.

Method’s approach in creating products is to play it safe, use the precautionary principle and avoid using suspicious materials (like parabens) in our products - period. Unless we can conclude that an ingredient will not be a threat to human health (or to the environment), we won’t use it. In the case of parabens, this means that we use alternative preservatives and steer clear of the risk."

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