Below is a wonderful rant from Paula Begoun's The Beauty Bunch blog, regarding the myths about parabens and the false information that cosmetics companies are spewing about their "organic" and/or "natural" products.
I know I’m about to piss a lot of people off with this blog entry but let me just preface what I want to get off my chest by saying I am an environmentalist and have been for years. I live in the Pacific Northwest and as a community and personally we have been ecologically aware for decades. I know polluting our world is a serious problem and we all need to do everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint, but I have had enough with the fear mongering, propaganda, and outright brainwashing the organic and natural skin care product lines throw at consumers. Even mainstream companies have gotten in on the act (L’Oreal actually advertises their Everpure hair-care line claiming it is better because it doesn’t contain sulfates, which is a bunch of crap because all of their other products from Garnier to Kerastase contain sulfates. Why didn’t they stop selling those if sulfate-free is so much better?).
Let me just say this up front: skin care products are not killing us, causing cancer, or any other dire condition. Women have no more higher incidence of cancer then men (breast cancer doesn’t count as men don’t have estrogen in the first place and women don’t get prostate cancer for obvious reasons as well). The insane, misleading information about mineral oil, petrolatum, parabens, and even toluene in nail polishes is just bizarre. The research doesn’t exist to prove any harm is being done, not even remotely. Not to mention natural and organic products contain problematic ingredients that effect the environment and our health as well.
I’m not sure how this all got started but the natural organic fanatics want you to be very afraid and, of course, only buy their products because they are pure and won’t harm you (forget the fact that there isn’t any research showing their products are effective and that many aren’t all that natural in the first place). Even more obnoxious is their blatant hypocrisy. I am fairly certain almost every single owner, employee, or lobbyist for any organic/natural cosmetic company in the world uses computers, talks on cell phones, drives cars, flies in airplanes, mostly lives in cities, and myriad other things that are far more problematic for the environment and health then any cosmetic could ever be. Breathing auto exhaust fumes and adding to landfills with outdated cell phones and computers (and all manner of outdated electronics) are where the concern should be, not the cleanser or moisturizer you are using.
But back to skin care. I want to remind all of you that I have a ton of research on my web site about all this, including these links:
If you want to send this rational, documented information to your friends and family that would go a long way to helping them make better decisions about what skin care and makeup products to buy. Right now I am just overwhelmed and the voice of reason is drowned out by the endless garbage (brain pollution) the natural/organic cosmetic industry can’t help spilling into the minds of women like an oil slick that can’t be cleaned up. Just in case you’re still not willing to believe that cosmetics aren’t killing us, below are some rational, voice-of-reason quotes from respected sources.
“FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens.”
— Food and Drug Administration
“[The 2004 Darbre Study] did not prove that parabens cause breast tumors. The authors of this study did not analyze healthy breast tissue or tissues from other areas of the body and did not demonstrate that parabens are found only in cancerous tissue.”
— National Cancer Institute
“There is no sound scientific evidence that cosmetics as they are typically used cause cancer.”
“Parabens have a long history of safe use and have been specifically recognized as safe by the FDA.”
— American Council on Science and Health
“… The technical accuracy of the initial reports [linking parabens to cancer] have come under challenge,” noted Sandra Porter, Clariant. “Recent reports published and available in the public domain indicate that there is no conclusive evidence of harmful effects from parabens in cosmetics at typical usage levels.”
— Household and Personal Products Industry Magazine
I also want to share this letter I received from a physician on this issue; it succinctly sums up the manipulation we suck up like water in the desert without any benefit:
First of all thank you for speaking up about a topic that has been very important to me for a long time. In fact I created a blog simply to address this issue: http://parabenmyth.lexli.com/
My frustration with philosophies such as this stem from the fact that I treat patients with breast cancer on a daily basis, and am very cognizant of what is good or not for them. I have spent a long time researching the paraben issue and found the same conclusions as you have. Such negative, panic provoking tactics against ingredients has almost become a norm for a number of “big beauty” marketers. Unfortunately, it works on consumers who may be unaware of the whole picture, and in many cases do not have access to in-depth scientific facts. To condemn an ingredient just because it might, possibly, might, remotely mimic, seem like, maybe etc. is incredibly unjustified. The evidence linking paraben absorption via skin care products, mimicking estrogen and in turn affecting breast cancer rates is extremely farfetched at best. I suspect your chances of taking in estrogen like substances is higher from food intake of animal and plant products, such as cow’s milk! But, obviously certain negative marketing, using scant scientific findings and manipulating it is much more potent at molding the human mind than presenting the facts. I applaud you on your ability to go against the flow and try to reach the truth.