Parabens and other endocrine disruptors have been identified in certain teething toys used by infants, according to the Journal of Applied Toxicology.
“Researchers found that one contained parabens, which are normally used as preservatives in cosmetics, while the other contained six so-far unidentified endocrine disruptor’s,” writes Science World Report.
“The good news is that most of the teethers we analyzed did not contain any endocrine disrupting chemicals. However, the presence of parabens in one of the products is striking because these additives are normally not used in plastic toys,” Dr. Martin Wagner of the Department of Aquatic Ecotoxicology at Goethe University noted in a recent press release regarding the matter.
“Our study shows that plastic toys are a source of undesirable chemicals. Manufacturers, regulatory agencies and scientists should investigate the chemical exposure from plastic toys more thoroughly,” Wagner says.
The use of parabens, often incorporated into cosmetics and body care products as a preservative, has been evaluated closely within recent years after a study revealed that paraben traces were found in the tissues of breast cancer patients.
“There is a correlation between the growth in the use of body care products in the Western world over recent decades and the increasing incidence of breast cancer, but other lifestyle changes also have occurred during this period,” write Philip W. Harvey and Philippa Darbre in their 2004 study titled, “Endocrine Disrupters and Human Health: Could Oestrogenic Chemicals in Body Care Cosmetics Adversely Affect Breast Cancer Incidence in Women? A Review of Evidence and Call for Further Research.”
“Parabens have been suggested as the agents in body care formulations potentially involved in breast cancer because of their ready absorption through the skin as intact esters their hormonal activity and their reproductive toxicity (discussed later), but other suggestions are for a role of aluminum,” say Harvey and Darbre.
In order to avoid products containing parabens, look for items containing the words ‘natural’ or ‘paraben-free.’