Parabens and Tomatoes
The FDA says parabens are safe. Oh really?
We were reading a blog (that we usually really like) yesterday in Sprout HQ, and I’m actually really disappointed by the response to the recent Cosmetic Ingredient Review declaration that , “some parabens are safe at current use levels (methyl paraben and ethyl paraben) but… levels of others used [should] be reduced (butylparaben and propylparaben).” To this, said blogger responds, “Based on the current research, there’s no reason to be concerned about using products with parabens. So before you clean out your makeup bag and bathroom cabinet, take a deep breath and relax.”
We beg to differ. The post itself points out, “parabens in their isolated form also have estrogen-like qualities” and they’ve been found in breast cancer tissue. So basically what this totally sketchy and vague study actually is saying is that, in very very small quantities, parabens are likely not a problem. And yes, cosmetics have a very very small amount of parabens in them.
But let me tell you why this doesn’t matter. In a very long and complicated metaphor.
Tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers all have a chemical in them that is also toxic. Did you know that? You may know it by the name of nicotine. It’s in super small quantities though, so unless you ate them too much or had a sensitivity you would be fine. But in large quantities, it causes inflammation and acidity, and eventually cancer. Scary, right? I would argue that a large problem in the American diet is all of the french fries, potato chips, and ketchup we eat. But that’s a whole other blog post. And please don’t freak out because unless you are eating fries at every meal, you’re seriously fine. And if you are eating fries at every meal, we need to talk anyways.
But back to my analogy.
Imagine that every time you applied a personal care product, you ate a tomato.
You wake up, brush your teeth, eat a tomato. Wash your face, eat a tomato. Wash your hair, eat a tomato. Condition your hair, eat a tomato. Put product in your hair, eat a tomato. Apply makeup, eat tomatoes. One tomato per cosmetic. Wash your hands, tomato. Lotion your hands. Tomato. Deodorant, tomato. Perfume, tomato. Last touch of lipstick, tomato (with a side of lead).
By the end of the day, you’re at like 50 tomatoes. Every. Single. Day. Every day.
That’s like eating 350 tomatoes a week.
So something that is called safe because in ONE product the quantity is so small it doesn’t matter, is suddenly being applied to your skin and body in quantities that would most definitely NOT be called safe, even by the people conducting these studies.
We know it’s overwhelming and frustrating and it can feel like seriously everything is bad for you so why even bother. But the reason you should bother is because you can. You can make a difference in your health and in the world. The less garbage you use, the less garbage they’ll make. The more quality you demand, the more they’ll have to provide. I mean, that’s why Sprout is here, right? Because you want it to be. Life takes a lot of work in general, and you do it. So don’t just take a deep breath when some study comes out saying not to worry because you’ll only get a little bit of cancer from the products you’re spending money on and letting into your life. Demand better. Use things that heal you instead. They’re out there. If you’re on our site, you know they are.