Countless consumer products today contain parabens. These chemicals preserve a wide range of products consumers use on a daily basis, including shampoos, cosmetics, and foods, as they prevent harmful bacteria and mold from growing in the products. This only scratches the surface, however. Consumers must know — what parabens are and how they are used in many consumer products today.
The American Chemistry Council explains many fruits and vegetables naturally contain a chemical known as para-hydroxybenzoic acid or PHBA. Parabens derive from this chemical, and the human body naturally forms this same chemical when it breaks down certain amino acids. The parabens found in consumer products are the same as those that occur in nature.
Manufacturers use parabens because they work. Furthermore, persons with allergies appreciate the parabens because they are hypoallergenic, while manufacturers love the low cost. Paraben exposure occurs when a person swallows a product containing the chemicals or when they apply it to the skin. The parabens are then absorbed into the body.
The Food and Drug Administration required manufacturers to list all ingredients in the products they sell on the label. This allows consumers to decide whether they are comfortable using the product. However, the FDA doesn't make cosmetic manufacturers obtain approval when they develop, market, or sell products. It's only when a product is deemed dangerous that the FDA steps in. Consumers must understand this when buying and using any product.
The majority of items found in grocery stores contain parabens. As a result, exposure to these chemicals adds up, and consumers want more information on the dangers of paraben exposure if any. Experts disagree on whether the chemicals cause cancer, and this concerns many today.
Scientists believe parabens disrupt hormones on the body and trick the body into treating the chemicals as hormones. For instance, parabens may be present in breast cancer cells, leading researchers to believe the chemicals act like estrogen. Discoveries such as this have led people to express concern over whether they are linked to the increase in certain types of cancer. At this time, no link has been discovered between parabens and an increased risk of cancer.
The cumulative effects of parabens concern many though, as 90 percent of items found in grocery stores now contain the chemicals. Scientists continue to conduct research in this area. At this time, the Centers for Disease Control does not believe the presence of parabens in consumer products leads to adverse health effects. Nevertheless, people must take care when using products containing parabens.
Sadly, not all manufacturers share this information on their products. Consumers must do their own research. For some individuals doing so is critical.
Certain people discover they are sensitive to parabens even in small quantities. Individuals need to consider this when trying any new product and learn how susceptible they are to different products. Keep in mind that anything in excess can be a problem. Moderation is key at all times.
As long as consumers want products with long shelf lives, manufacturers will continue to use preservatives to provide what their client base wants. This doesn't mean people shouldn't educate themselves. Educated consumers make informed decisions regarding their purchases.
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