|ESSENTIAL PROCESS, INC.
Noreen Ziegler, DVM, CNC
By Dr. Mercola
When you wake up in the morning, there's a good chance you start your day
by showering, shaving, washing your hair, and putting on deodorant and any
number of other lotions, cosmetics and personal care products. It's a
mundane routine virtually everyone reading this is familiar with – but in so
doing you're most likely exposing your body to more than a handful of
hormone-mimicking chemicals – each and every day. Anything you eat,
inhale, or spread on your skin can be absorbed into your body and potentially
cause damage over time, including each and every one of your personal care
products if they contain parabens and other synthetic hormone-mimicking
chemicals. Now research is showing just how serious exposure to hormone-
mimicking chemicals has become -- especially for children, whose natural
hormones may be overshadowed by synthetic ones.
99 Percent of Breast Cancer Tissue Samples Contain Hormone-
Research published in March detected the presence of paraben esters in 99
percent of breast cancer tissues sampled.i The study examined 40 women
who were being treated for primary breast cancer. In 60 percent of cases,
five of the different paraben esters were present. Parabens are chemicals
with estrogen-like properties, and estrogen is one of the hormones involved in
the development of breast cancer. A new report discussing the findings,
published in May, revealed several disturbing pieces of information, as
reported by GreenMedInfo:
- The ester form of parabens found within the breast tissue samples
indicated a dermal route of exposure, as would occur through skin care
products and underarm deodorants.
- The paraben residues were found at concentrations up to 1 million
times higher than the estrogen (estradiol) levels naturally found in
human breast tissue.
- Propylparaben was found in the highest concentration in the underarm
area (axilla), where underarm deodorants are most used and breast
cancer prevalence is at its highest.
Hormone-Mimicking Chemicals May be "Eclipsing" Natural Hormones
Methylparaben has been detected in the urine of more than 99 percent of
Americans, while propylparaben has been found in nearly 93 percent.
Parabens inhibit the growth of bacteria, yeast, and molds, and are used as
preservatives in countless consumer products, including:
- Deodorants and Antiperspirants
- Shampoos and Conditioners
- Shaving Gel
- Lotions and Sunscreens
- Make-up / Cosmetics
- Pharmaceutical Drugs
- Food Additives
Cosmetic companies and even the World Health Organization often state that
the estrogenic properties of parabens are a low health risk because they are
much less potent than the natural hormone estradiol, but the paraben
residues being found in human breast tissue tells a different story. Clearly
these chemicals are accumulating at alarmingly high concentrations, likely
because of their widespread and persistent daily use. But safety
assessments do not account for these chronic, low-dose exposures, nor the
health effects of synergistic exposures to other hormone-mimicking chemicals
like bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates.
The Environmental Working Group reported:
"Many cosmetic companies argue that the level of a harmful chemical in any
one product is not enough to harm you, on the basis of studies of chemical
exposure in adults. However, science is finding the timing of exposure is
crucial, and that even a very small dose of some chemicals can have serious
consequences in children and young women who are still developing.
Moreover, we are rarely exposed to a chemical just one time. We may use
the same product every day, several days a week, for months or years. In
addition, we use dozens of personal care products daily, not just one. So
while exposure from one product on one day may be small, we in fact, use
numerous products a day for extended periods of time. As a result, scientists
are finding accumulations of chemicals such as parabens and phthalates in
Children are, indeed, those most at risk. The May study published in the
Journal of Applied Toxicology noted:
"For exposures in children, concern has already been raised that 'the
estrogenic burden of parabens and their metabolites in blood may exceed the
action of endogenous estradiol in childhood and the safety margin for
propylparaben is very low when comparing worst-case exposure."
What this means is that your child may be exposed to so many synthetic
hormone-mimicking chemicals that they may begin to overtake the actions of
his or her natural hormones! GreenMedInfo summed it up nicely:
"In other words, synthetic hormones from chemicals like parabens may
actually be eclipsing the activity of endogenously produced (natural)
hormones in our children."
Why Isn't the FDA Regulating Parabens?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not "approve" cosmetic
ingredients the way they do drugs. Generally, cosmetic manufacturers can
use any ingredient they choose, including parabens (which are, in fact, the
most widely used preservatives in cosmetics). On their Web site, the FDA
cites an outdated Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) conducted in 1984, which
claimed methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben were safe for use
in cosmetic products at levels up to 25 percent, although typically they are
used at levels ranging from 0.01 to 0.3 percent.
Again in 2005, CIR "decided to re-open the safety assessment for parabens
to request exposure estimates and a risk assessment for cosmetic uses," and
again determined "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." But these
findings should do little to quell your concerns, as CIR is an industry-run
organization that reviews the safety of its own ingredients. Once again, the fox
is guarding the hen house, and it is not at all surprising that they only re-
affirmed the "safety" of one of their most widely used chemicals.
The FDA is only furthering this false sense of security by stating, "FDA
believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be
concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens." This statement
is based on a study that is more than a decade old, which found synthetic
parabens have lower estrogenic activity than naturally occurring estrogen …
but that completely ignores the risks of chronic, low-dose exposures from
multiple sources and the fact that in the aforementioned study parabens were
found to accumulate in the human body at, again, 1 million times higher
concentrations than natural estrogen. As incredible as it sounds, despite
the fact that parabens are used in such a wide variety of products, the
toxicology of these chemicals has barely been investigated – and the more
recent studies that have come out showing cause for alarm are being all but
ignored by U.S. regulatory agencies.
How to Avoid Hormone-Mimicking Chemicals
Avoiding parabens and other harmful chemicals requires becoming an avid
label reader. Beware that products boasting “all-natural” labels can still
contain harmful chemicals, including parabens, so make sure to check the list
of ingredients. On the label they may be listed as:
- Methyl paraben
- Propyl paraben
- Isobutyl paraben
- Ethyl paraben
- Butyl paraben
Another alternative is to make your own personal care products. In many
cases it's much easier than you might think. Michael DeJong, environmentalist
and author of books on green living has a book called Clean Cures, which is
chockfull of affordable, easy, natural remedies you can prepare at home to
treat ordinary ailments with items you have in your own refrigerator and
pantry. You can also find many natural recipes for free by searching online.
When it comes to deodorants, one option is to skip it altogether. Simple soap
and water works quite well, and for some additional odor-protection, try a
pinch of baking soda mixed with a small amount of water.
Parabens are only one of many hormone-mimicking chemicals to watch out
for. The following 12 measures can be implemented right away to help protect
yourself and your children from a variety of common hormone-disrupting
- As much as possible, buy and eat organic produce and free-range,
organic meats to reduce your exposure to added hormones, pesticides
and fertilizers. Also avoid milk and other dairy products that contain the
genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or
- Eat mostly raw, fresh foods. Processed, prepackaged foods (of all
kinds) are a major source of soy and chemicals such as BPA and
- Store your food and beverages in glass rather than plastic, and avoid
using plastic wrap and canned foods (which are often lined with BPA-
- Use glass baby bottles and BPA-free sippy cups for your little ones.
- Make sure your baby's toys are BPA-free, such as pacifiers, teething
rings and anything your child may be prone to suck on.
- Only use natural cleaning products in your home to avoid phthalates.
- Switch over to truly natural brands of toiletries such as shampoo,
toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics.
- Avoid using artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners or
other synthetic fragrances, many of which can also disrupt your
- Replace your non-stick pots and pans with ceramic or glass cookware.
- When redoing your home, look for "green," toxin-free alternatives in lieu
of regular paint and vinyl floor coverings.
- Replace your vinyl shower curtain with one made of fabric.
- Avoid non-fermented soy, especially if you're pregnant and in infant
Have Human Hormones Been Eclipsed by