Parabens are widely used as preservatives in make-up and skin and hair care products. Some studies with rats suggest that parabens can have a weakly estrogenic effect on cells. The potential result? It may stimulate growth of estrogen -dependant breast cancer cells. There are no human studies that show this effect from toiletries with parabens and the FDA is currently studying the issue.
Parabens have been considered less irritating than other forms of presevatives and are found in processed and prepared foods. Interestingly, soy which is lauded for its health benefits, also has weakly estrogenic activity.
Keep in mind that parabens are found in over 80% of all skin and hair care products. I have taken a position of watchful waiting. I limit my soy intake ( such as edamame) and I’m delighted when a product I like is paraben free. But presence of parabens is not a deal breaker for me.