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Is Your Shampoo Making You Fat while Ruining the Environment and Possibly giving you cancer?

Posted Aug 26 2008 4:31pm
I know I've written about the evilness of parabens before, but I can always appreciate a well-written article--and eliminating chemicals (puts the "poo" in shampoo) in your cosmetic products is such an easy way to protect your health, no reason not to look into this issue again.

This excellent piece of prose is from our friends at , and I think Jen shares my fixation with George Clooney (go Jen and Heather!):

As if bad hair days weren’t enough, we can now add weight gain, hormone disruption, and breast cancer to the list of possible side effects associated with parabens – a chemical preservative and common ingredient found in shampoo and other personal care products.

Say what? If you’ve ever read the back of your shampoo bottle, you’ve no doubt seen parabens listed among the ingredients. Butylparaben, ethylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben are found in everything from makeup remover to shaving cream. These chemicals act as preservatives, extending a product’s shelf life by inhibiting bacterial growth. They’re used in tens of thousands of products, and are found in many items-- even some processed foods--that claim to be “natural” or “hypoallergenic” (terms that aren’t governed by federal standards or definitions).

What causes parabens to be potentially harmful? Their chemical structure is strikingly similar to the hormone estrogen. When paraben-laced products are applied to your skin, they're absorbed into your body and may be mistaken for estrogen, disrupting the hormonal system. Too much estrogen can cause big problems, including weight gain, fluid retention and depression. Parabens have been linked to several hormone-related diseases, including breast cancer, abnormal fetal development in pregnant women, and abnormal development of male reproductive systems. In 2004, researchers in the
United Kingdom detected parabens in 18 of 20 breast cancer tumors they studied, suggesting a link between parabens and breast cancer. Estrogen also helps to regulate the activity of fat cells, meaning that yes, it’s possible your shampoo is making you fat.

Besides being risky to your health, parabens pose environmental risks. Washed off in the shower or at the beach, they can accumulate in waterways or soil and disrupt the hormones in animals. Scientists have documented hundreds of animals with genetic defects, such as frogs with extra legs, which they say could be the result of paraben pollution.

Fortunately, more and more products are wearing the “paraben-free” tagline on their sleeve (or bottle). The gurus over at leading eco-living email tip company, Ideal Bite, have been pushing the paraben issue for awhile now. We got co-founders Jen Boulden and Heather Stephenson to divulge their favorite paraben-free personal care options:

Hair: John Masters Organics Honey & Hibiscus Reconstructing Shampoo; Max Green Alchemy Scalp Rescue Condition and Styling Gel.

Nails: Peacekeeper Nail Paint.

Lips: Peacekeeper Lip Paint.

Eyes: Alima Pearluster Eyeshadow; Dr. Hauschka Kajal Eyeliners; Lavera Mascara.

Face (Wash): Jason Apricot Scrubble.

Face Cream: Aveda Tourmaline Charged Hydrating Crème.

Face Makeup: Burt’s Bees Vanishing Facial Powder.

Body Lotion: Blooming Lotus Massage Lotion Bliss Blend.

Shower: Collective Wellbeing Charcoal Body
Wash .

Sunscreen: Lavera Sun Spray.

Deodorants: Alba Clear Enzyme Deodorant; The Crystal Stick Deodorant.

Shaving: Aubrey Organics Shaving Cream.

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