Parabens are a group of preservatives used in cosmetics, food and supplements.They are usually found as a cocktail of 5 different parabens: Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Isoparaben.
The problem is that parabens are used in a combination in nearly every product that is used on a daily basis from shampoos, shower gels, body lotions, and facial creams, make up and baby products. It was estimated that Parabens were used in 13,200 different cosmetic formulations and a more recent survey of 215 cosmetic products found that Parabens were used in 99%of leave-on products and in 77% of rinse-off cosmetics .The second problem is that Parabens can be absorbed rapidly Through intact skin and this can be influenced by the presence of penetration enhancers found in cosmetic preparations. After 8 hours of contact with the skin, 60% of Methyl Paraben, 40% of Ethyl Paraben and 20% of Propyl Paraben were found to penetrate the skin.
Parabens are oestrogenic and are able to accumulate in fatty tissue and have been found in breast tumours there; the main problem is that Parabens mimic oestrogen in the body. They have been shown to bind to oestrogen receptors from different sources and human breast cancer cells. The oestrogenic activity is a problem because they can increase the growth of certain human breast cancer cells
A common preservative, germicide; fungicide and disinfectant found in cosmetics and nail varnish as well as furnishings and fabrics. Formaldehyde has been classified as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.