May 2, 2019
In this episode, Dr. Vincent DeLeo discusses consumer
misconceptions about parabens with Dr. Margo Reeder and Dr. Amber
Atwater. Although consumers believe parabens are associated with
health risks such as breast cancer and endocrine disruption, the
data have not been conclusive regarding any harmful effects in
humans. Dr. Reeder and Dr. Atwater explain the use of parabens as
preservatives in cosmetic products, and they discuss the American
Contact Dermatitis Society’s selection of parabens as the
2019 nonallergen of the year.
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Things you will learn in this episode:
- Parabens are present in a number of cosmetic and household
products and medications, but the maximum concentrations permitted
generally are much lower than consumers may think.
- Consumers associate parabens with health risks such as breast
cancer and endocrine disruption, but the actual data on estrogenic
effects in humans are limited.
- Although parabens have been found in breast cancer tissue,
findings have not been directly linked to use of topical axillary
personal care products containing parabens, such as deodorants.
Application of these products directly after shaving also has not
been shown to increase breast cancer risk.
- Because of their low rate of associated allergic contact
dermatitis, the American Contact Dermatitis Society named parabens
the nonallergen of the year for 2019.
- Parabens are a safe choice for preservatives given their low
- Dermatologists can ease patient concerns about parabens by
explaining that a causative role in adverse health effects has not
Guests: Margo Reeder, MD (University of Wisconsin School of
Medicine and Public Health, Madison); Amber Reck Atwater, MD (Duke
University School of Medicine, Durham, N.C.)
Show notes by Alicia Sonners, Melissa Sears, and Elizabeth
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