Parabens In Personal Lubricants

There is a lot of discussion about personal lubricants that contain parabens, a synthetic preservative, and if they are good for you.

Well we don’t agree with their use, but we cannot tell you conclusively that they’re bad for your health, all we can do is give you the existing science and let you make up your own mind.

What Are Parabens?

Parabens are synthetic preservatives that your skin can absorbed. There is a whole family of parbens and they’re made by reacting an alcohol with p-hydroxybenzoic acid (the change in alcohol provides the varieties).

What Does The Science Say About Parabens?

A review of research on Parabens between 2004 – 2008 by Darbre & Harvey found:

  • Intact parabens were present in human urine, meaning our bodies are not breaking down the chemicals
  • Parabens can be absorbed through our skin
  • Parabens were repeatedly shown to have estrogen disruption (ED) impacts
  • Parabens were genotoxic, meaning they can damage the genetic information in cells causing mutations

In 2013 the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health published a paper noting “EDs may be blamed for the rising incidence of human reproductive disorders. This constitutes a serious public health issue that should not be overlooked. Therefore, precautionary avoidance of exposure to EDs is a prudent attitude in order to protect humans and wildlife from permanent harmful effects on fertility.”

And a 2002 study exposing rats to currently acceptable levels of polyparabens resulted in reduced sperm production.

Where Are Parabens Found?

They’ve been used since the 1950s as a preservative (preventing bacteria growth). And they’re the most widely used cosmetic preservative. Parabens are also often used in pharmaceuticals and food. Yes your food!

Conclusion

Parabens health risks are certainly contested, but there’s good reason to believe this family could affect the natural hormone system (endocrine) of our bodies. And considering the paraben family is in so many of our daily products the real concern we see is the cumulative exposure.

Personal lubricants are placed in areas that allow for greater absorption, and they are used frequently. There are so many paraben free lubes on the market there is really no reason not to find an alternative.

How To Reduce Your Paraben Exposure?

This ingredient is everywhere, personal lubricants and other body care products, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, even a host of food. So read the label and put down anything that contains something ending in ‘parabens’, it’s a big family.

Vavven™ is a social enterprise selling sex toys and raising funds for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. Change a world with your purchase.

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About Jacqueline Haines

Social entrepreneur who champions sexual and reproductive health and rights. Founder of Vävven.

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