Ques­tions and Con­cerns

Consumer Voice - - Food & Stuff -

Can parabens cause en­docrine dis­rup­tions?

Stud­ies sug­gest that pro­longed ex­po­sure to parabens can lead to en­docrine dis­rup­tions. Parabens can mimic the ‘oe­stro­gen’ hor­mone and there­fore can cause an im­bal­ance in the body’s hor­monal sys­tem. In in­fants and chil­dren, paraben ex­po­sure can lead to de­vel­op­ment dis­or­ders, im­mune-sys­tem dis­or­ders, learn­ing prob­lems and re­pro­duc­tive dis­or­ders. They can even in­duce early on­set of pu­berty in chil­dren. It is im­por­tant that paraben ex­po­sure is kept in check.

Can parabens cause can­cer?

Some stud­ies in­di­cate that paraben ex­po­sure can cause can­cer but it is dis­puted by most re­searchers, ac­cord­ing to whom cos­met­ics and food items do not con­tain the amount of parabens that can lead to can­cer. For paraben, like any other ad­di­tive or preser­va­tive, they have set a limit that is safe for hu­man ex­po­sure. The US Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FDA) has stated that there is no rea­son for con­sumers to be con­cerned about the use of cos­met­ics con­tain­ing parabens. The FDA has also clas­si­fied methyl and propy­l­paraben as ‘gen­er­ally re­garded as safe’ by med­i­cal and tox­i­co­log­i­cal ex­perts for use in pre­serv­ing food. In a study, a high amount of methyl­paraben was found in the can­cer tis­sues of pa­tients who had breast can­cer, but the re­searchers failed to prove that methyl­paraben caused these tu­mours.

Is pre­ma­ture age­ing a re­sult?

Stud­ies sug­gest that methyl­paraben in­creases sen­si­tiv­ity to sun­rays and thus in­creases the dam­age caused by them. One must care­fully check this in­gre­di­ent while buy­ing a cos­metic prod­uct.

Parabens and the environmen­t

Parabens are used ex­ten­sively in cos­met­ics. Thus, they are of­ten washed away in the wa­ter drains. They ac­cu­mu­late in the waste wa­ter and un­dergo waste-wa­ter treat­ment. Nev­er­the­less, many stud­ies have re­ported high lev­els of parabens in the treated wa­ter. The dis­carded parabens are also known to play a sig­nif­i­cant role in for­ma­tion of chlo­ri­nated parabens that are dif­fi­cult to be treated. Ac­cu­mu­la­tion of these prod­ucts in the environmen­t leads to in­crease in paraben con­cen­tra­tion. This can en­hance the oc­cur­rence of health dis­or­ders as­so­ci­ated with parabens.

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