Japan Offspring Fund(JOF) is a consumer group and environmental NGO established in 1984. We have researched issues involving the safety of daily life, including chemical residues, endocrine disruptors, and genetically engineered food.

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Japan Offspring Fund (JOF) Monthly Newsletter
1999, January, No.117

Keep children away from Parabens

One day, I went to a toy store and I was so surprised at a particular toy. This particular toy was named "pinkish mode Paris" by Takara Japan and is a cosmetic set for young ladies. It consists of nail polish, lipsticks and face powder. When I went to another toy store, I found many similar cosmetic sets for young ladies such as "Make up package" by Sanrio, and "Suteki-ni Hensin pact" by Bandai. Cosmetic sets for children have now became very popular.

Why did these cosmetics surprise me? Because all of these cosmetic sets include endocrine disrupting chemicals such as paraben and tar coloring matter. They can be harmful to children. Then,I became furious, because I had just read an article in THE INDEPENDENT (1998 October 11) that reports parabens can cause "adverse effects when injected under the skin of laboratory animals even though the additives have long been approved for use."

"Scientists believe the preservatives, known as parabens, can be absorbed through the skin of pregnant women where they might act as an alien female hormone in the womb. This could impair the normal development of a male foetus and so result in fertility problems in later life (THE INDEPENDENT, 1998, October 11)

Off course, testing animals and human is different, thus, what has happened to animal's body may not happened to human's body. However, it is important to apply the precautional principle so I decided not to use any cosmetics with parabens until they are proven truly safe.

Paraben is used in most cosmetics, since it comprises only 1% of the product.

Parabens can kill various kinds of germs and bacteria. It is said that the toxicity of parabens is very low comparing to Salicylic acid and Benzoic acid. Parabens are used widely as a preservative of cosmetics. Since it is permitted to use 1% of ingredients, paraben is used in most cosmetics .

Paraben is also used as a food additive. Foods which may include paraben are soy source, vinegar, source and soft drinks. It is better for children not to use or eat paraben to avoid disruption of endocrine system.


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