Unless you live under a rock, you have probably heard of parabens. Until about 10 years ago they were the most commonly used preservatives, as they are non-irritating, very effective, and cheap.
Then 2004 came and a research paper came out that tested 20 human breast tumors and found parabens in all of them. This was before the era of social media (btw, it's the year Facebook was founded) but this research still managed to go viral and caused parabens to become the evil, cancer-causing preservative in people's head.
Cosmetic companies do want to do what we want to buy and as we did not want to buy products, containing parabens anymore, they started to use alternatives, like the current IT-preservative, phenoxyethanol. It's much easier to replace parabens than trying to go into lengthy explanations about why the 2004 research is misunderstood and how there are lots of data showing that parabens are totally ok.
As people got so interested, the FDA wrote a little article about parabens stating, " (the)FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens."
We think the above is pretty much the gist of the topic but if you feel like reading about parabens all day today, here is a handy list for you to get you started:
- Parabens on Wikipedia
- The perils of parabens by cosmetic chemist Perry Romanowski on the great The Beauty Brains blog
- Spotlight on parabens by Nicki Zevola on the Futerederm blog
- Fact-Check Friday: What’s The Deal with Parabens in Cosmetics? on the great LabMuffin blog