In the last few years, parabens have been a hot topic for many products, mostly makeup and personal care products. Parabens including methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and isobutylparaben, have been the favored preservative in moist multi-use products for their antimicrobial properties. These parabens inhibit the growth of fungus, bacteria, and other microbes that favor warm, moist environments. When it comes to surgical lubricants, parabens are used to prevent contamination and the spread of disease with use of the lube. However, in the 1990s, parabens were found to have xenoestrogenic, those that mimic estrogen, properties. Studies have been inconclusive as to whether or not this contributes to breast and reproductive cancers and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not set any limitations to its use for a lack of substantial proof.
In this article, we will discuss some of the reasons that healthcare facilities, despite the lack of causal proof, should opt for paraben-free products.
The body processes parabens differently.
One concern of paraben use is that it mimics natural estrogen in the body and disrupt the body’s normal hormone function. Too much estrogen in the body can cause an increase in breast cell division which can cause the growth of tumors and other complications. Another concern is that parabens have been discovered in the body, unaltered. This suggests that the body cannot readily metabolize parabens. In fact, one British study found traces of parabens in the breast tissue of 19 out of 20 participants. In another Danish study, parabens were found in the blood and urine of healthy males that participated in the study just a few hours after lotions containing parabens were applied to their skin. Neither of these studies proved a causal link between parabens and cancer, but they did prove the ability for parabens to penetrate tissue and remain in the body.
Medical products are used internally.
While many beauty and personal care products that contain parabens are used externally — in makeup or hair products — medical agents that contain parabens, such as lubricants, are often used internally. The FDA stated that parabens are safe in concentrations as high as 25 percent and most hygiene products use between 0.01 and 0.3 percent. However, this concentration can seem much higher when introduced into the body’s internal structures.
Reduction in all chemicals.
Any chemical that is introduced to the human body is potentially hazardous. In most people, a particular chemical may be completely safe. However, some people are at a greater risk of injury or illness caused by chemicals. In the healthcare industry, patients are, generally, in a weakened immune state already. Products that use fewer chemicals are always a better option when compared to similar products that contain more chemicals. When it comes to surgical lubricants, SurgiLube® Surgical Lubricant offers a superior lubricant that contains fewer chemicals than competitors.
Parabens are a cheap and widely available solution for antimicrobial preservatives. So, although parabens are being phased out of products by the demand of the consumer, it will be decades before alternatives are used all of the time.
At HR Pharmaceuticals, patient safety and comfort is at the forefront of product design. Since it is still not clear as to whether or not parabens are safe in wide-spread use and there are other antimicrobial preservative options, SurgiLube® Surgical Lubricant is completely paraben-free. For all of your paraben-free lubricant needs, shop our entire line of products today!