REP. ANNA PAULINA LUNA: We Need To Ban Parabens

REUTERS/Leah Millis

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I have always been drawn to public service and the service of others. After two enlistments with the Air Force, I dreamed of becoming a doctor. I wanted to serve those who needed help with their health. After getting my undergraduate degree in science, I applied and was accepted into a medical school program. Right before I was supposed to leave, I received a phone call giving me the opportunity to be a leader for young Americans getting involved in politics.

As destiny had it, my life took a dramatic yet exciting pivot into politics. I now serve as the Congresswoman for Florida’s 13th district. My interest in medicine and science continues to this day and informs my enthusiasm for how we, as policymakers, can prioritize the health of those we represent.

I take my health and well-being seriously. I raise my own chickens so my family can have the most organic eggs possible. I’ve removed all toxic cooking and cleaning items from my home and have done extensive research on “clean” hygiene products like makeup and toiletries. I love finding the best hair and cosmetic products that don’t contain harmful ingredients.

When was the last time you looked at the label of your daily care products – your facial moisturizer, the sunscreen you apply to your child or the shampoo you use every evening to wash your hair? When you read it, do you know what any of the long, complex chemical names mean or what they do? And how do you know that you can trust that what you are applying to your skin, which will then seep into your bloodstream, won’t cause any adverse effects on your health?

There are many harmful additives in our cosmetics and personal care products, and being an informed consumer in our country means being on the lookout for specific toxic chemicals. I’ve always avoided one particular set of product ingredients for myself, my husband and my now eight-month-old baby: parabens.

You’ll see labels list them as “ethylparaben,” “butylparaben” and “propylparaben”– essentially any chemical name ending in “paraben.” They are a preservative used in many products to stop bacteria from growing and extend shelf life, driving profits. They are used in shampoos, conditioners, makeup, lotions and many other products we use daily. The problem is that studies have linked parabens to hormone disruption, fertility issues and even cancers. For instance, a study published in the National Institute of Health by Environment International found a potential correlation between paraben exposure and an increased risk of breast cancer in women.

It has always baffled me how the FDA has failed so badly at doing its job and has allowed people to put toxic chemicals on their skin and hair. When I became a congresswoman, I knew I had the power and obligation to change this.

For this reason, I am introducing bipartisan legislation, the No Toxic Chemicals in Cosmetics Act, to ban toxic parabens in personal care products and cosmetics. This legislation has garnered support from both sides of the aisle, demonstrating that the health and well-being of our citizens is a shared concern. Although some may consider the effort to ban parabens in cosmetics frivolous, it is a straightforward bill that would help improve our country’s health.

Knowing how harmful so many ingredients are in products marketed and sold to tens of millions of women and men daily, I’ve always wondered why the government never stepped in to stop this. The average American adult uses up to 12 personal care products daily, and within these products, there may be up to 112 different ingredients.

Parabens are not an issue that only affect one small demographic. A study showed that they were present in over 96% of adult urine samples, and it can’t help but remind me how we sadly see such high levels of both cancer and infertility in our country. We spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually researching and innovating solutions for these issues. Yet a simpler solution to improving public health is examining the products we put on our skin and bodies.

As consumer demand indicates, cosmetics, personal care products and makeup aren’t going anywhere. In 2023, two of the largest beauty and cosmetics retailers, Ulta Beauty and Sephora, had record-breaking revenue levels, each passing the $10 billion mark. Every year, beauty-related content on YouTube receives hundreds of billions of views. This thriving industry underscores the need for us to ensure the safety of the products it sells.

It would be wrong for Congress to remain complacent. The No Toxic Chemicals in Cosmetics Act provides a simple and long-overdue solution for our health and well-being. I am thrilled to be leading the charge.

Anna Paulina Luna is a Republican congresswoman representing Florida’s 13th district.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.