This common group of preservative chemicals has shown up in cancer tumors, and still little is known about the effects of long-term exposure—more research is needed.
Parabens are a common preservative used in literally thousands of personal care items (the Environmental Working Group's Skindeep web site lists more than 10,000 products containing one of these parabens: ethylparaben, butylparaben, heptylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben. They're particularly found in water-based products, such as shampoos, conditioners, body washes, toothpastes and skin lotions.
Research studies have shown that parabens are able to absorb through the skin's protective outer layer and into the body. Studies have shown measurable amounts in breast cancer biopsies, as well as in the urine of US adults. How much is too much? What are the long-term effects of this exposure? At this time we just don't know. More research is needed to understand the long-term effects of ongoing exposure to these chemicals.
In the meantime, we at Fieldworks Supply believe that life is too short to take unnecassary risks--especially when there are reasonable alternatives. So in our products we choose not to use parabens. Instead, we use natural herbs and citrus oils that are well-known as natural preservatives.
For alternatives to paraben-containing bodywashes, consider this Fieldworks product made with aloe, beneficial herbal extracts, bentonite clay... and preserved with natural citric acid: