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What are Parabens? Parabens are the most widely used cosmetic preservatives. The most common parabens used in cosmetic products are methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben. Typically, more than one paraben is used in a product, to provide preservation against a broad range of microorganisms.
Why are preservatives used in cosmetics? Preservatives may be used in cosmetics to protect them against microbial growth, both to protect consumers and to maintain product integrity.
What kinds of products contain parabens? They are used in a wide variety of cosmetics, as well as foods and drugs. Cosmetics that may contain parabens include makeup, moisturizers, hair care products, and shaving products, among others. Parabens are usually easy to identify by name, such as methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, or benzylparaben.
Are there health risks associated with the use of parabens in cosmetics?
The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) reviewed the safety of methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben in 1984 and concluded they were safe for use in cosmetic products at levels up to 25%. Typically parabens are used at levels ranging from 0.01 to 0.3%.
On November 14, 2003, the CIR began the process to reopen the safety
assessments of methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben in
order to offer interested parties an opportunity to submit new data for
consideration. In September 2005, the CIR decided to re-open the safety
assessment for parabens to request exposure estimates and a risk assessment for
cosmetic uses. In December 2005, after considering the margins of safety for
exposure to women and infants, the Panel determined that there was no need to
change its original conclusion that parabens are safe as used in cosmetics. Parabens are an effective antimicrobial against yeast and mold & the FDA has stated that at the present time, there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of parabens in products. Parabens have been safely used in cosmetics since the 1920's & historical data indicates that parabens are safe.
FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens.FDA Paraben Facts
American Cancer Society states "So far, studies have not shown any direct link between parabens and any health problems, including breast cancer. What has been found is that there are many other compounds in the environment that also mimic naturally produced estrogen. The bottom line is that larger studies are needed to find out what effect, if any, parabens might have on breast cancer risk."