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Parabens: Why pregnant women should avoid some cosmetics

UTo investigate the effects of parabens on unborn babies, a team led by Irina Lehmann from the Berlin Charité and Tobias Polte from the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research examined pregnant women. The women had agreed to participate between 2006 and 2008, when they were asked about their use of cosmetics. In the following eight years, the researchers observed the children’s development.

The result: Children with a high paraben load on the mother had more than twice the risk of being overweight compared to others. Such an observational study alone cannot prove anything. Overweight in children is affected by many factors. What is remarkable about the work is that the scientists were able to substantiate the connection in a number of other experiments. The researchers first treated human fat cells in culture dishes with butyl paraben. This had no effect on the growth or development of the cells.

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