Parabens are a class of chemicals with a similar molecular structure, widely used as preservatives by cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.
Parabens can be found in many household items, including cosmetics, lotions, soaps, toothpaste, shampoos, moisturizers, shaving gels, fragrances, lubricants and many more.
Of greatest concern is that parabens are known to disrupt hormone function, an effect that is linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity. Parabens mimic estrogen by binding to estrogen receptors on cells. They also increase the expression of genes usually regulated by estradiol (a natural form of estrogen); these genes cause human breast cancer cells to grow and multiply.
Even though parabens can be found in nature, for example methylparaben is found in blueberries, the amount of it in beauty products we use every day is too large, therefore should be avoided unless consumed in raw foods.
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