The Harvard School Of Public Health has released a recent study(1) which claims that a chemical used in many food products across the United States causes fertility issues in women. The study measured urinary paraben concentrations in association with the markers of ovarian reserve in women seeking fertility treatment.
Parabens, including propyl paraben, methylparaben, ethylparaben, and butylparaben, are commonly used in food and skincare products to promote a longer shelf life, which in turn means lower overhead costs and more profit for producers and retailers.
Propyl paraben in particular is found in many popular food products, from corn chips to sausage rolls. Here’s a list of foods known to contain this chemical:
- Amport Foods Chocolate & Nut Trail Mix
- Archer Farms Gourmet Dessert Cookies
- Arizona Snack Company Canyon Runner II Trail
- Arizona Snack Company Sweet Energy Trail
- Cafe Valley Apple Spice Mini Muffins Apple Spice
- Cafe Valley Banana Nut Mini Muffins
- Cafe Valley Blueberry Mini Muffins
- Cafe Valley Cake Pumpkin Cream Cheese
- Cafe Valley Chocolate Chips Mini Muffins
- Cafe Valley Corn Mini Muffins
- Cafe Valley Lemon Poppyseed Mini Muffins
- Cafe Valley Orange Cranberry Mini Muffins
- Cafe Valley Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins
- Creative Occasions Old Fashioned Carrot Cream Cheese Cake
- Elizabeth’s Naturals Psychedelic Sunday Mix
- Emerald Breakfast On The Go Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Nut & Granola Mix
- Energy Club Fancy Mojo Mix
- Energy Club Nuts N Chocolate Blend
- Entenmann’s Coconut Crunch Donuts
- Essential Everyday Classic Trail Mix
- Island Snacks Fancy Chocolate Mix
- La Banderita White Corn Tortillas
- La Banderita Yellow Corn Tortillas
- Little Debbie Pecan Spinwheels
- Newton’s Naturals Get The Munchies Trail Mix
- Nuevo Leon Tortillas
- Oh Yeah! Candies Chocolate Caramel
- Ole Mexican Foods Corn Tortillas
- Patissa Pumpkin Pie Cream Puffs
- Premium Orchard Rainbow Trail Mix
- Private Selection Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
- Quality Club Deluxe Moxxi Mix
- Roundy’s Cranberry Trail Mix
- Roundy’s Pak O Snax
- Sara Lee Cinnamon Rolls
- Sara Lee Honey Glazed Buns
- Setton Farms Hiker’s Trail Mix
- Superior Chocolate Nut Trail Mix
- Superior Mini Chocolate Eclairs
- Sweet P’s Bake Shop Black & White Cookies
- Tropical Corn Tortillas, Traditional Style
- Turano Brat & Sausage Rolls
- Weight Watchers Carrot Crème Cake
- Weight Watchers Chocolate Crème Cake
- Weight Watchers Golden Sponge Cake
- Weight Watchers Lemon Creme Cake
- Weight Watchers Red Velvet Creme Cake
- Weis Cross’n Country
- Weis Milk Chocolate Candies
According to the Harvard study, this chemical is a potent endocrine disruptor which can cause a whole host of health problems, including lowered sperm count, reduced fertility, and an increased risk for cancer.
Restrictions on Propyl Paraben Use
Food regulators in the European Union have outlawed this particular paraben in food products ever since studies discovered that it was linked to lowered sperm counts in male rats(2). This synthetic additive is known to mimic oestrogen, which can disrupt the endocrine system and have an impact on your reproductive health.
Recently, under pressure from the Environmental Working Group, major manufacturer Johnson & Johnson pledged to remove propyl paraben – as well as other parabens, and other harmful chemicals like formaldehyde – from all their baby products.
But this voluntary restriction isn’t enough to halt the negative impacts this paraben may be having on the reproductive systems of countless individuals; research from Cornell University suggests that paraben exposure over an extended period of time (such as we get from parabens in our cosmetics, food and personal hygiene products) may lead to breast cancer and other significant health problems(3).
Food products in which propyl paraben is still used include Cafe Valley muffins, La Banderita corn tortillas, and other popular snack brands.
Consumers Taking Steps
With the Us Food and Drug Administration showing no signs of acting to restrict the use of propyl paraben in food products, the Environmental Working Group (among other consumer rights groups) has recently started a petition to pressure manufacturers to stop using propyl paraben in processed foods such as Sara Lee cinnamon rolls and Weight Watchers cakes. You can sign their petition here.