Methylparabens and Other Yummy Stuff

Lately, it’s easy for me to fall off the healthy living bandwagon.  I find when you make many changes in your life, it’s extremely easy to rationalize a few unhealthy options.


I was in the shower the other day and picked up the bottle of rose witch hazel I bought before our nuptials, when I was trying to heal an INSANE self-inflicted bruise I created with some very enthusiastic tambourine playing (three weeks before our destination wedding, eek.)  I noticed the ingredient list included: methylparaben, “a gentle and safe preservative.”


Methylparaben is an antimicrobial preservative used in foods, drugs, and cosmetics.  According to the NCBI, it is “readily and completely absorbed through the skin and from the gastrointestinal tract.”  A 2008 final amended report indicates that methylparaben “did increase chromosomal aberrations in a Chinese Hamster ovary cell assay” but determined that it was “noncarcinogenic when injected subcutaneously in mice or rats.”

(Aside: I am no fan of mice or rats, but I couldn’t help feeling sorry for those dudes perusing the article.  They sure are put through the ringer to determine if parabens are causing cancer in us humans.)

According to a 2011 Livestrong article, methylparaben has been linked to breast cancer, skin damage, eye damage, and decreased male fertility.  Regarding breast cancer, the article posits that “a report in the January-February 2004 issue of the Journal of Applied Toxicology states that when several breast tumors were examined by researchers, high levels of methylparaben were found in the tissues.”

Conversely, the NCBI insists that “there is no evidence of accumulation.”

I don’t know, friends.  I’m extremely wary.  The bottom line?  Methylparaben seems to mostly be an endocrine disrupter, and might be carcinogenic.

I can tell you: none of this makes me want to slather it all over my babies.

Oh, and yesterday?  I finally opened a package of Johnson and Johnson baby care products that a friend gave me seven months ago.  Why waste? I thought, and reasoned, a few bottles of this can’t hurt her.  And hey!  No parabens!


GAH.  NO.  But don’t worry: J&J has graciously offered to remove the offending ingredients from their products within 3.5 years.  Huzzah!

Sometimes I just want to hide my head in the sand.  But we need to know what’s in our food, our make-up, and our kids’ body wash.  The only way we can demand higher standards is to be informed and get involved.

2 thoughts on “Methylparabens and Other Yummy Stuff

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s