The next time you read a story that vaguely indicates parabens are unsafe, think twice before you believe the hype and remember the facts -- the tiny levels used in your personal care products are not harmful.
Parabens actually mimic natural antimicrobials found in foods like blueberries, and are tremendously effective at preventing untoward microbial growth. A very small percentage of the population might find them irritating, but it pales in comparison to the utility and effectiveness of parabens to thwart nasty microbe growth without untoward irritation.
But do they cause cancer?!
The idea that parabens could cause cancer or promote the growth of tumors that respond to estrogen was the erroneous aspersion cast by a now-debunked "study" that "contain too many shortcomings in order to be considered as scientifically valid," according to the European Commission Directorate-General on Health & Consumer Protection.
Plenty of foods have some natural chemicals with estrogenic activity and of course they are not harmful in the least: onion, garlic, cabbage, cashews, grapefruit, hops and ginseng, among many others.
Yes, there are now "natural alternatives" hyped and sold (and some companies are raking in the dough selling their new untested alternatives). But they haven't stood the test of time. The result is the very rapid introduction of new preservatives that do not have the safety record exhibited by parabens, and most are far more irritating. Worse still, many are very ineffective. For some purposes we find that parabens are by far the best choice when it comes to balancing effective preservation without irritation, especially in water-based products.
Note that currently we only sell one product that actually contains parabens, but that preservative is by far the current best choice.
But don't take our word for it:
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finds that parabens are safe for use in cosmetics, and 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 American Cancer Society has concluded, based on its research findings, that the scientific and medical research does not support a claim that the use of parabens in cosmetics can increase an individual’s risk of developing breast cancer.
Conclusion: The expectation of long shelf lives and microorganism-free consumer products mandates the use of preservatives. Ideally, preservatives should be active at low concentrations against a wide variety of microorganisms without interfering with other ingredients in the product, while also remaining nontoxic to humans and available at low cost to manufacturers. Parabens have been used for over 80 years and, despite reports of adverse reactions, they have proven to be amongst the safest and most well tolerated preservatives... The current data does not support drastic regulations or personal restrictions to exposure.
Regarding "studies" that purport to show some link to hormonal disruption: "contain too many shortcomings in order to be considered as scientifically valid"
"considers the use of parabens as preservatives in finished cosmetic products safe to the consumer, as long as the sum of their individual concentrations does not exceed recommended concentrations”.
Other useful links: