Parabens and babies. What you need to know

Parabens are usually found in most baby products Manufacturers use them in their products as a preservative. If you want to check you products to see if there is a paraben in the baby product you are using, check for these commonly used preservatives (namely methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, and butylparaben), which are listed on labels. The have recently been identified as xenoestrogens. An xenoestrogen is a synthetic compounds that mimics the sex hormone estrogen.

These parabens are absorbed very quickly into the babies blood stream. It bypasses the gastrointestinal tract where it might have been broken down so cosmetic products are one of the worst ways to be absorbed by the body.

In the July 2002 issue of the Archives of Toxicology , Dr. S. Oishi of the Department of Toxicology, Tokyo Metropolitan Research Laboratory of Public Health, Japan, reported that exposure of newborn male mammals to butylparaben "adversely affects the secretion of testosterone and the function of the male reproductive system.

"In this paper, we have shown that butylparaben had an adverse effect on the male mouse reproductive system and that it damaged the late steps of spermatogenesis in the testis," the researcher reports. "A dose-dependent decrease of both round and elongated spermatid counts in stages VII-VIII seminiferous tubules was observed, and the elongated spermatide counts were significantly lower in all of the treated groups. The serum testosterone concentration decreased in a dose-dependent fashion and was significant at 1.00%. These data demonstrated that butylparaben can exert an adverse effect on the male reproductive system at doses that are well below those of the accepted daily intake (ADI) in Japan."

If you have young girls I'm sure you couldn't help but notice this growing trend of sexual development at younger and younger ages. Pediatrician and increasingly reporting the appearance of puberty in girls as young as two. There have even been some reported cases of girls having their periods in kindergarten.

Lotions, soaps and cosmetics may all be contributing factors to these reproductive abnormalities. Women of child bearing age as well as babies should avoid parabens as a precaution.

Finding products that do not contain parabens is not as daunting as it sounds. It may require a trip to your local health food store as opposed to the drug store where you usually buy baby products. However, just because something is labeled organic does not mean paraben free. Always check the label.