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Parabens – Part IV

Well kids, it is that time of year again.  The Scientific Commission on Consumer Safety (SCCS) has re-evaluated propylparaben and butylparaben for safety.

As you may remember, after multiple reviews of methylparaben and ethylparaben the SCCS found them to be completely safe for human use.  Even taking into account exposure through several products per day.

Not bad.

So let’s get to propylparaben and butylparaben.  This opinion was published on May 3, 2013.  You can find the actual report here: http://ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/consumer_safety/docs/sccs_o_132.pdf  (Warning: legal language and science presented!)

The opinion was based on two key questions.

1. Taking into consideration recent data, does the SCCS consider that its opinions of 2010 (SCCS/1348) and 2011 (SCCS/1446) on propylparaben when it is used as preservative in cosmetics products, both intended for adults and young children, need to be updated? 

2. Taking into consideration recent data, does the SCCS consider that its opinions of 2010 (SCCS/1348) and 2011 (SCCS/1446) on butylparaben when it is used as preservative in cosmetics products, both intended for adults and young children, need to be updated?

Bottom Line: No.

However, there is significant concern about difference in the toxicokinetics of parabens in the rat model used vs. humans.  In fact, several member states of the EU have banned the use of propylparaben and butylparaben for use in products for children under the age of 3 years.  The main areas of concern are in the nappy (diaper) area and the use of sunscreens.  It is recommended that children under the age of three should be protected from the sun by physical means.  Use umbrellas, hats, long-sleeved shirts, etc.

Now you may think that you did not have to do that when you were young.  But way back then we had a protective ozone layer which sadly has been slowly destroyed, letting much more radiation through to us.  It is a different world my friend.

So, are parabens safe?  Looks that way.  Effective, over 100 years of safe usage and financially prudent. There are lots of newer preservatives out there, but we do not know the effects of long-term use yet.  Personally, I like parabens.  But everyone is willing to take different levels of risks and Dr. Tim  is doing many studies on new preservatives.  I’m looking for that perfect preservative that will save the world.

After all, Doc Johnson wants all of our friends to live long and buy our products often!

Love you guys and gals!

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Seriously Though (or, Not Funny or Sexy, but Important)

I am a scientist.

For many people, “scientist” is a bad word.  After all, don’t we as evil scientists try our best to destroy the planet in every movie, television show, novel, etc.?

Trust me.  If we wanted the world destroyed, it would already be gone.

And I am an older scientist.  One who remembers the “Good Old Days” before we were hampered with so many laws, rules and regulations.  When I was a Baby Scientist, we could pretty much do whatever we wanted with impunity.  Now we have governments telling us what and what cannot use when they have very little grasp of basic chemistry.

We didn’t always know what we were doing, but hey!  We made penicillin, cured rabies, fought off many diseases while creating products to make life easier for you.

But that doesn’t mean everything that we can do, should be done.

Let me rephrase that.  It doesn’t mean that everything we can do (and we did) should be told to the public.

CALM DOWN!

Let me give you two recent examples in the OTC/Cosmetic world.

1) It was discovered that using coral scientists created a new sunscreen.   Should it have been tried?  Yes.  Absolutely.  Should we have told the public?  NO!  After all, as scientists, we want to know everything about everything.  That means trying stuff that would never occur to non-scientists.  The world’s coral reefs are in danger.  And they are a very important part of the aquatic ecosystem.  I do not nor will I ever advocate the decimation of the coral reefs for the production of sunscreen.  It is not necessary.  That product would have to do something pretty darn impressive to make it worth risking life in the oceans.

So why did they tell us?  It was an attempt to attract additional funding.  Research needs money to happen.  I used to work for a company on the East Coast.  We had several divisions: liposomes, hyaluronic acid, biotechnology and cosmetics.  I may have forgotten a few, but you get the idea.  I was in charge of the OTC/Cosmetic R&D branch.  The other department heads would give me grief about working in a “soft” science.  They were trying to make medical breakthroughs to save humanity and I was making herbal shampoo.

My herbal shampoo was responsible for their funding.  That’s right.  They would never had been able to afford one fermentation tank, one HPLC or even a beaker without the sales from my products.  “Soft” science indeed.

2) New anti-ageing benefits utilizing fluid from the umbilical cord!  Why?  Way back in the day, we used amniotic fluid in skin care.  Everyone, except perhaps the French, have stopped.  There is no need to exploit childbirth to obtain materials for reducing wrinkles.  Plus today, any product using a chemical of human origin requires an HIV warning.

That’ll sell cosmetics!

OK, so we are all doing research and trying to advance the human condition.  Is it all pretty?  No.  Is it all beer and skittles?  Not even close.  Do we still undertake personal risk?  Yes.  Every day.  There is not one product that comes out of my lab that I would not use myself.  And I test every single product we make in my lab.  All of them.

You do not want to hear about the products that failed.  Not every experiment is a winner.  Nor should you even know about them.  You want the winners.  Not the runner-ups.

So things happen in labs all around the world that can be a bit hinky.  We want to hear how you cured cancer and do not want to hear everything you had to go through to do it.  All these experiments lead to greater knowledge.

With great knowledge comes great responsibility.

What Did You Call Me? (or, Whiny Post, No Cheese or Crackers!))

You never think it could happen to you…

If I had known what was going to happen, I never would have gone.  But I did.

Yes, I went to the Biannual Society of Cosmetic Chemists Suppliers’ Day event at the Long Beach Convention Center.These were my peeps, my buddies, my pals.  We have stood side by side with beakers in our hands making a more beautiful tomorrow.  We had been to more disreputable clubs together and seen things that would turn a weaker man into jelly.  Yes we were held by bond stronger than most, its name is Bond, Ionic Bond.  (Chemistry joke.)

We had each other’s backs through acquisitions, lay-offs, marriages, divorces.  You never expect those folks to turn on you.

At the show I couldn’t go three feet without having someone yell, “Hey Dr Tim, over here!” or “Wait Dr Tim, I need to talk with you!” even “Dr Tim, I need your advice.”

Three hundred booths, seven hundred conversations.  It’s a good life.  If you are strong enough.

Then it happened.  One of my old buddies brought a baby chemist over to see me.  (A baby chemist is anyone with less than 25 years in the business.)  My friend said to me, “Tell this kid that the Noodle Incident* really happened.”

*Some incident names have been changed to protect the innocent.

“Of course it happened.  You were there.”

And then…

“Wow Dr Tim, Sir.  You are a Legend!  I can’t wait to tell everyone that I met you.”

WHAT????

When did that happen?  But it gets worse.  Not two rows later I get called an Icon of the Industry.  By an international group of chemists.  Apparently I am known from California to Japan.  The long way.  And the question that pesters me is “Why?”

What did I do that was so special?  Nothing comes to mind.  I have worked hard and long in my laboratory for almost 30 years.  Lost two wives and families because of my work.  Did I have a major breakthrough that helps humanity?  Doubtful.  Did I make a lot of people wealthy with my work?  Certainly.

(And speaking of my work, go buy some Official Doc Johnson toys and lubes!  The Sasha Grey Love Spit will blow your mind.  Or if the jacuzzi is your thing, try our new and improved iLube.  A cushiony silicone ride through the night.)

Did I touch people?  Probably.  I was a pizza guy once myself you know.  More people seem to remember me than I remember them.  Half of me calls BS, the other half loves the attention.

Apparently I live my life loud and proud with my freak flag unfurled, surviving and thriving in the corporate world.  I guess everyone does love the bad boy.

Am I bragging or complaining?  Not too sure yet.  Definitely a little of both.

Oh, on the lighter side, a female chemist caught me using a Star Trek reference.  She is the first one to spot it ever!  Major props.

I'm feeling it!

Dr Tim – the Man, the Icon, the Legend.  Let me help you get your freak on!  No muff too tough!  No trick too sick!

Dr Tim is On-the-Air (or Turn your radio on!)

A post on Monday morning?

Inconceivable!

However, it has been brought to my attention that one or two of you were pulled away from your computer against your will Saturday night.

Well, you missed it.  Dr Tim was on the air.  A nice 30 minute interview with DerekD and Peter Dickem on “The DerekD SHow.”  They are on this nifty website www.pleasureradio.fm.

So go ahead, visit the site, check out the program archives and hear what I had to say.  I didn’t do much for world peace, but maybe you can get a piece from our conversation.

Big shout-out to: @pleasurefm @peterdickem @dirtyderekd @drsuzy @TsWendyWilliams

Follow them on Twitter, or if boredom is more your style, follow me on Twitter!  The link is over there to the right somewhere.

Happy Monday Everyone!

Vacation! (or Did you miss me?)

Believe it or not, I took a vacation last week.  No, really!  I was not in my laboratory for nine days.  Nine long, empty, meaningless days…

Actually I had a grand time.  It was my first vacation in four years and my third in the last twelve years.  It seems like I take a week off every four years or so.

So what did I do?  Things that would make the Marquis de Sade jump up on a chair and go “Eeek!”

Well, I’m sure that someone would.  I spent two days travelling.  It was nice to see the green fields and blue skies of the Midwest again.  You know, they have air that can be seen through almost all of the time.  Then I came home to study.

Yes you read that correctly, I came home to study.  I was buried in quantum theory, chemistry, mathematics and porn.

A person needs to stay sharp and up-to-date with the latest and greatest theories and inventions.  Who wouldn’t want to unravel the theories of time and the universe while experiencing mind-blowing orgasms?  Somehow I find that climaxing while learning brings me to an amazing brain-gasm.  Nothing like a good cum to fix things in your brain.  The universe seems to open itself up to me during sex.  (Now you understand why I call my Lady Friends, “My World, My Universe.”)

Here you thought I ignored my studies to do a lot of screwing around!  Nonsense.  As serious students, we always recited our class notes during sex.  In fact, that is the main reason people like the dirty talk in the bedroom.  Have you ever said anything naughty that your partner forgot?  Nope, they remember every last thing you said in bed and try to hold you to it.  A lot of jewelry gets sold that way.

Did you know that two people can squeeze into an orgone box?  They can!  If you can have sex in an airplane bathroom, you can make it in an orgone box!  Although that isn’t the point.  One of these days I promise that I will write a blog about Wilhelm Reich.  His work is fascinating.

Back to my vacation!  Out of nine, I had seven days of Science, Sex and Ice Cream.  Hmm, Seven of Nine does make me think about Science, Sex and Ice Cream, although not in that exact order.

However, serious study needs a serious study group.  How fortunate that I know such a group who could really help me concentrate on my studies.  Anything that could happen, did happen!  There were tons of official Doc Johnson toys and lubes which everyone shared to their hearts’ content.  There were strap-ons, oral sex, anal, sex, vaginal sex, armpit sex, straight, gay, trans, couples, singles and more!  Best smorgasm-borg ever!  We really got into some interesting experiments of spacial geometry and I do believe we defied the laws of physics and anatomy more than once.  How many dimensions do we occupy during orgasm?

You would have to see the film to believe it!  But until I star on a reality show, you will probably never have a chance to see it, unless someone posts clips on the internet.  Don’t be a pirate!  Buy your porn!  Somehow the idea of sex tapes going viral seems wrong to me.

So what or who did you do on your summer vacation?  Feel free to send me cards, letters, pictures or video!  Even a postcard would be nice…

Parabens – Part III (More Info Still!)

Here we are, back again to the parabens.  It may seem like this is a never-ending debate.  But that is fine with me.  Further debate leads to further investigation.  And further investigation may eventually lead us to some solid answers.  I’m a scientist.  I like solid answers, but truth is ever evasive.  As long as everyone is different, there may never be a final answer.

So let’s take a look at the latest information.  It comes to use from the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) through the European Commission.  It is an independent non-food scientific committee with no financial gain from industry for their work.

The “Opinion on Parabens” paper can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/consumer_safety/docs/sccs_o_041.pdf

It is some 35 pages long and gets deep into scientific lingo.  So I will try to sort it out for you.

Most parabens are OK.  Methylparaben and Ethylparaben are restricted to 0.40% by weight while Propylparaben and Butylparaben are restricted to 0.19% by weight.  Oh, if more than one paraben is used, they are restricted to .80% by weight in a formula.  Sound good?  Most cosmetic/personal care/personal lubricant formulations do not ever use them at that high of a level.  The most I have ever seen is around 0.40% by weight when using three of the four.

So looks like we are home and dry?  No.  We haven’t really even reached for a warm fluffy towel yet.

The Commission wants more data.  The rat and mouse models (yes, animal testing) do not have enough correlation to a human model.  They are asking for more in vivo human tests.  (In vivo means testing on a live creature, in vitro is testing in a petri dish.)  There are a few other parabens which have not been tested, but no one uses those in and personal care application.

It appears that parabens whether applied subcutaneously or orally rapidly metabolize into PHBA which is found in all plants and is expected to naturally occur in humans.  It is quickly passed through the system through our urine and faeces.  However, intact parabens have been found in the urine and/or serum and seminal plasma.

That is why the SCCS set the above stated limits, because they need more data.  They set the threshold much higher than the Industry’s recommendation.  Enough animal tests, we need to test on humans.  Pretty scary, huh?  Want to be a human test subject?  I would!

Bottom Line Straight from the Report: 

With respect to the safe use of parabens as cosmetic ingredients, concern was expressed as to the potential endocrine modifying effects of parabens of higher chain length including Propylparaben, Butylparaben and related iso compounds. Benzylparaben was also of concern. Based upon the currently available in vitro data and in vivo rodent test results, the SCCS agrees that the estrogenic properties displayed by parabens appear to increase with increasing chain length. Nevertheless, the SCCS stresses that the displayed potency levels remain about 3 to 6 orders of magnitude lower than the potency of the positive controls.

So the jury is still out, but the deliberation is drawing near a close.  We should have more definitive answers in 4-5 more years.  Stay tuned…

Questions?  Love Letters?  Topics?  Nude Pictures?  Send them to me at: drtim@quantumcogitation.com

 

 

Lubricant Study

Anyone else read this today?

http://www.biologynews.net/archives/2010/05/25/use_of_lubricants_with_anal_sex_could_increase_risk_of_hiv.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+biologynews%2Fheadlines+(Biology+News+Net)

http://www.xbiz.com/news/121017

As you might have guessed, I have a few comments.

1) Lubricants cannot prevent the transmission of HIV or STDs. Not yet. And when they do, they will be presciption-available only. I know that there are a few existing studies that show that carrageenan MAY inhibit the HIV virus, but anybody marketing on that claim faces substantial wrath from the FDA when caught.

2) Yes, if people are going to engage in unprotected anal sex, it would be nice if lubricants do not facilitate the virus. This is another reason the FDA wants all personal lubricants to become registered medical devices. So that they can have more control. Should they have it?

3) Medical device registration and testing is very thorough. It is safety based and until now, no one had considered whether lubes could be preventative.* The FDA requires so much testing of toxicity that this study surprises me. I mean the FDA even requires that lubricants are injected into the bloodstream of mice as a safety test related to rectal claims.

4) Lubes don’t cause infection. Unprotected sex with unsafe partners causes infection.

* Actually, I have been reading about companies working on lubricants that would actually prevent the transmission of HIV for years. How I wish I had that R&D budget!

So how much protection do we as a society owe people who are hard of thinking? Do we pass more and more laws until every chemical, food or activity is illegal?

Where does personal responsibility come in to the picture? If someone engages in unprotected anal sex with multiple partners, do they deserve to die? I don’t think so.

Should you have to get a prescription from your doctor for personal lubricants and tell that person it is for anal sex? Doctors can tell if you have even been anally receptive, so would that be a big deal for you?

Should all products of every kind be pulled off the market until such a time that they are deemed safe by scientific study? And will people believe it? The fact that every scientific organization around the world has cleared phthalates for use in toys has not stopped the emotional banning of the substances. People want science to help them, but then refuse to believe its findings because some reporter or blogger thinks they know more than hundreds of scientists.

Personal lubricants are a necessity of life. We need them. But trusting your lubricant to protect you from your poor choice is like trusting your car to protect you while driving drunk.

Please think and act responsibly. I do not want to lose any more of you.

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