The Myths about Parabens
Parabens are used as preservatives in cosmetics, food and pharmaceutical products. They basically give products a longer shelf life.
Consumers today are much more aware of ingredients and products that they buy. The media are also more tuned into publicising information about these ingredients. Often, people do not understand the full extent of studies done and only remember one or two aspects of scientific studies – mostly because these studies are too comprehensive and difficult for the average person to understand.
There has been some increasing negative publicity and panic regarding parabens in recent years. Annique would like to bust some myths regarding parabens, by providing you with the real facts about these ingredients.
Myth #1: Parabens cause breast cancer
Origin of myth: A study1 completed by Darbre, Aljarrah, Miller, et al. in 2004 in the Journal of Applied Toxicology that found parabens in human breast tumours.
Actual conclusion in the Darbre et al. Study: Parabens were found in breast tumours. There was no evidence at all that parabens cause breast cancer or that they are harmful in any way.
Flaws in the study:
- The study was only done on breast cancer tissue. No studies were done on normal breast tissue to determine if levels of parabens differ between the two.
- Only 20 breast tumour samples were used in the study. Harvey and Everett say that there needs to be more studies that are more representative for body burdens and across the human population.
- The tissue donors’ general history was not investigated to determine if they took anti-cancer medication containing parabens, to mention only a few.
- There were no studies done on the donor’s exposure to other consumer products that contain parabens.
Myth busted: There is no scientific evidence that parabens cause breast cancer. This study proves that parabens were present in breast cancer tumours, NOT THAT THEY CAUSED breast cancer. Some medication also contain parabens and that could also be the cause of parabens found in tissue.
Myth #2: Parabens in underarm cosmetics cause breast cancer
Origin of myth: The Darbre study and an editorial letter by Harvey and Everett2 in the Journal of Applied Toxicology in 2004 about the link between parabens in underarm cosmetics and breast cancer.
Actual conclusion in the Harvey and Everett editorial: There are unanswered questions in Dardre’s study and “The results alone, however, do not suggest that these chemicals caused the tumours in these patients.”
Flaws in the study: all the above mentioned flaws in Darbre’s study are also valid here.
Myth busted: The Scientific Committee of Consumer Products (SCCP) published their opinion3 in 2005: “..there is no evidence of demonstrable risk for the development of breast cancer caused by the use of paraben-containing underarm cosmetics” (p.6). There has been no link found between using underarm cosmetics containing parabens and breast cancer.
More evidence: The US National Cancer Institute also said the following on cancer and underarm cosmetics on their website4
“Can antiperspirants or deodorants cause breast cancer?
Articles in the press and on the Internet have warned that underarm antiperspirants (a preparation that reduces underarm sweat) or deodorants (a preparation that destroys or masks unpleasant odours) cause breast cancer (1). The reports have suggested that these products contain harmful substances, which can be absorbed through the skin or enter the body through nicks caused by shaving. Some scientists have also proposed that certain ingredients in underarm antiperspirants or deodorants may be related to breast cancer because they are applied frequently to an area next to the breast (2, 3).
However, researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), a part of the National Institutes of Health, are not aware of any conclusive evidence linking the use of underarm antiperspirants or deodorants and the subsequent development of breast cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates food, cosmetics, medicines, and medical devices, also does not have any evidence or research data that ingredients in underarm antiperspirants or deodorants cause cancer.”
Myth #3: Parabens mimic estrogen in the body and that causes cancer
Origin of myth: Parabens act similarly to estrogen in the body and it is believed that too much estrogen can cause cancer. Estrogen is a female hormone known to cause breast cells (normal and cancerous) to grow and divide. Some conditions that increase the body’s exposure to estrogen (not having children, late menopause, obesity, etc.) have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
Myth busted: The US Food and Drug Administration says on their website that parabens have a much smaller effect in the body than its own estrogen and that the amounts of parabens in cosmetics are so small that is most unlikely that parabens can increase the risks associated with estrogenic chemicals.
You can read what the US Food and Drug Administration said about parabens in 2006 on their website5:
“FDA is aware that estrogenic activity in the body is associated with certain forms of breast cancer. Although parabens can act similarly to estrogen, they have been shown to have much less estrogenic activity than the body’s naturally occurring estrogen. For example, a 1998 study (Routledge et al., in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology) found that the most potent paraben tested in the study, butylparaben, showed from 10,000- to 100,000-fold less activity than naturally occurring estradiol (a form of estrogen). Further, parabens are used at very low levels in cosmetics. In a review of the estrogenic activity of parabens, (Golden et al., in Critical Reviews in Toxicology, 2005) the author concluded that based on maximum daily exposure estimates, it was implausible that parabens could increase the risk associated with exposure to estrogenic chemicals.”
FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens. However, the agency will continue to evaluate new data in this area.
If FDA determines that a health hazard exists, the agency will advise the industry and the public, and will consider its legal options under the authority of the FD&C Act in protecting the health and welfare of consumers.”
Myth #4: The more products you use that contain parabens, the greater your risk
Origin of myth: Studies done on animals using large amounts of concentrated parabens.
Myth busted: Parabens are permitted in concentrations of 1% or less in cosmetics. Most of the Annique products we all use daily only contain paraben levels of <0.01-0.3% accordingly. An extremely minute amount is only used to preserve a formulation and in no way should scare you from using your favourite Annique products simply because parabens are listed among the ingredients.
Arendt and Schiller were two scientists awarded with the Nobel Prize for their work to validate the ideas of Paracelsus that there were no poisonous chemicals – only poisonous doses – this is true for natural ingredients as well. This is even applicable to water – if you drink too much water, it will harm you.
As a matter of interest, Martha Molete answers the question about the possibility of deodorants causing cancer on CANSA’s website6 as follows:
“No. This is a myth that was spread anonymously on the Internet.
There is no scientific evidence to support this claim. If the claim were true the incidence of breast cancer would have increased significantly after the advent of antiperspirants. This is not the case. The incidence of breast cancer has not changed much between 1930 (before antiperspirants) and 1980 (after antiperspirants). It is claimed that there are toxins in perspiration that are deposited in lymph nodes under the arm if one does not perspire and that these toxins can then cause breast cancer.
This is Not True. Toxins are metabolized in the liver and excreted through the kidneys. Men also get breast cancer but the incidence is 100 times less than women. Men use more antiperspirants than women do. One would thus have expected an explosion of breast cancer in men after the advent of antiperspirants. This has simply not happened. The incidence of breast cancer in men has remained stable over many years.”
Myth #5: Parabens are manmade chemicals
Origin of myth: Parabens are found in thousands if not tens of thousands of products. It is effective in preventing microbial activity. They are chemicals – thus they are bad for you.
Myth busted: Parabens are also components of a vast number of fruits and vegetables in order to naturally preserve them. Many fruit even produce their own pesticides! The more resistant fruit are to pests and deterioration, the more natural preservatives they contain. No one has studied these natural pesticides and how they affect our lives and health. So, we have no idea how many of these natural parabens are ingested when eating these fruits and vegetables.
The negative hype about parabens has been misconstrued into something that really has no scientific evidence. The two main studies conducted in recent years about parabens, have not proven that they are harmful to humans at all. Darbre et al.’s study found parabens in breast tumours, not that parabens cause cancer. Harvey and Everett’s study found no link between parabens and the use of underarm cosmetics. The irony is that these are the two studies that are used in the argument against parabens!
Consumers need to be educated, and in fact educate themselves about issues like these. Believing the media without doing your own research is dangerous and can cause negativity exactly like the paraben myths.
Parabens are not proven to cause cancer or to be harmful to humans – this view is supported by the American Cancer Society and the FDA.
- Darbre PD, Aljarrah A, Miller, WR, et al. 2004. Concentrations of
parabens in human breast tumours. Journal of Applied Toxicology 24(1): 5-13.
- Harvey PW, Everett DJ. 2004. Significance of the detection of esters of p-hydrobenzoic acid (parabens) in human breast tumours. Journal of Applied Toxicology 24(1):1-4
- SCCP. 2005. Extended Opinion on the Safety Evaluation of Parabens, Underarm Cosmetics and Breast Cancer. (SCCP/0874/04)
- http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/AP-Deo (American Cancer Society)
- http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/cos-para.html (FDA)
- https://www.givengain.com/cgi-bin/giga.cgi?cmd=cause_dir_news_item&news_id=31904&cause_id=1056 (CANSA)
Say “NO” to Psoriasis – With Annique Health Care Products
Although Psoriasis is not a lifestyle disease, both stress and diet have an influence on the severity of the condition. Controlling insulin levels and breaking down insulin resistance have a positive impact.
Insulin transports not only sugar but also minerals (e.g. magnesium). The latter plays a major role in normal cellular development.
Chemicals will only temporarily alleviate pain, so to effectively treat Psoriasis follow these two easy, yet effective steps:
- Drastically reduce the acid and heavy metal content in your body and detoxify
- Supplement your meals with the essential vitamins and minerals your system needs to function properly. These ingredients cannot be found in our food in sufficient quantity. Use OptiVite, OptiC and OptiMega daily.
- Take a tonic like Bio Harmony to boost your immune system on a regular basis.
- Use OptiClear to eliminate heavy metals and OptiToniQ+ to eliminate acid in your body. In other words, detoxify your body.
- Apply creams such as Resque Crème and Sensi Crème to your affected skin to help the regeneration of cells.
- Help your body naturally generate the ingredients necessary to ease your plight
- Reduce or even eliminate alcohol, tobacco and carbohydrates from your lifestyle. Remember that your skin is composed of a sub-layer of fat. To help maintain this layer, your diet should compose of good, high-fat foods such as eggs, avocado, cheese, etc. (NO low fat products). Both wheat and gluten should be excluded from your diet. Most, but not all people can tolerate dairy.
- Vitamin A is another important component in the skin-healing process. If you do not get enough vitamin A, you should take a supplement. OptiVite capsules will provide the dosage you need every day. The effect may be very slow in the beginning (it could even look negative), but as soon as your skin can absorb the benefit of the vitamin, the results will become positive.
Annique products that help treat Psoriasis
- OptiToniQ+ to restore your pH Balance, rendering your gut inhabitable to viruses, bacteria, fungi and cancer. Every cell in your body needs minerals to function properly. OptiToniQ+ provides 84 bio-available minerals. It helps cells, including immune system cells, function at an optimal level, thus identifying and eliminating diseases. Hyperacidity (too much acid in the body) can be detrimental to your health (not only for psoriasis sufferers). This wonder product helps the body regain balance, eliminating the negative (and often unnoticed) effects of too much acid in the body.
- Detox Tea to get rid of all impurities in the body. In fact, all teas are beneficial and a cup of Green Rooibos Tea daily works wonders.
- OptiClear to get rid of the heavy metals poisoning in your body
- OptiDerm and OptiMega for their essential fatty acids and skin benefits
- OptiSolve as a Vitamin A supplement.
- Resque Crème and Rooibos Tea to assist in reducing skin itchiness.
- Bio Harmony will get rid of nasty toxins, as well as ensures that nutrients are absorbed.
- OptiCalMag supplies magnesium.
- OptiFlora to help detoxify and support the absorption of nutrients from food and other supplements.
- ActiLess helps control insulin levels.
Professor Jeanine Marnewick – Rooibos Antioxidant Research
Professor Jeanine Marnewick is a senior researcher in the Antioxidant Research Group at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and one of our strongest allies in Rooibos research. In 2007, she ran a clinical trial on Rooibos, which led to her finding that Rooibos may help prevent cancer. She emphasised the following health benefits, already known and proven for Rooibos at that time:
• It is naturally caffeine free.
• It has a low tannin content.
• It has a unique mix of antioxidants.
• It has powerful antioxidant and cancer-fighting properties.
• It protects living cells against oxidative stress.
• It can slow down the development of skin cancer.
To date Rooibos health research focused on laboratory work and animal studies. Her challenge was to verify these health benefits in people.
Professor Marnewick and her team decided to focus on the potential benefit of Rooibos in heart disease, because it is one of the top five causes of death in South Africa. She outlined the clinical trial in which 41 adults, including herself, participated. This pioneering study focused on the potential of Rooibos to protect against oxidative stress and inflammation associated with the development of heart disease in people. Each participant in the trial had one or more risk factors for developing heart disease, but not at a level requiring medication. Examples of these risk factors include raised serum cholesterol levels, pre-hypertension, overweight/obesity, inactive lifestyle or a family history of coronary heart disease.
During a 16-week period participants had to follow a restricted diet to exclude other antioxidants as far as possible. Their food and drink intake, as well as blood test results, were closely monitored during the trial. During a key part of the study the participants drank six cups of Rooibos per day. At other times they drank mainly water and beverages without significant antioxidant content. The researchers then compared their test results for these different periods and found that drinking six cups of Rooibos per day showed an increase in antioxidants, proving Professor Marnewick’s theory that Rooibos has strong cancer-fighting properties.
Professor Marnewick continues her research into the health benefits of Rooibos today and is constantly making breakthroughs in the research of this powerfully healing herb.