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 allergenic potential.
- Dermatologists can ease patient concerns about parabens by explaining that a causative role in adverse health effects has not been proven.
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 Mechcatie.
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