Maybe This is How Polyparaben Was Born

This might very well be the true story of how little 'Polly Paraben' was born.

Yes, I know it's spelled polyparaben, but I figure if we're going to misspell a name, we may as well give it a bit of pizazz and throw in a pic of an adorable little baby.

So stick with me and hopefully you will be entertained.

It All Started the Other Day...

I was recently browsing the site of one of my tried and trusted suppliers and happened to click on preservatives. As I had never bought preservatives from these folks, I decided to check out their selection.

They had one called Herbigerm that looked interesting. I clicked to the product page to learn more. It was a mix of several different preservatives that promised broad spectrum preservation.

One of the ingredients on the list caught my eye.

It was polyparaben.


'This is obviously a typo', I said and proceeded to write them a courteous email linking to the page in question. I asked them to confirm this was just a typo for propylparaben.

Apparantly not

The person who received my email had contacted their warehouse manager to check.

And the official reply: "I have spoken to the warehouse manager and he tells me there is such thing as polyparaben, so we don’t think this is a typo."

Don't think this is a typo?

Surely You Jest

I wrote them back with a list of links to sources and documentation and ended the mail with a polite 'please have your warehouse manager contact me if there are any further questions, as I would like to purchase and try this preservative but neither can nor will label any of my cosmetics with a fictive ingredient'.

A day later (still awaiting their reply), I popped over to their site to check on another product and decided to check in on 'Polly'.

Here's what I found:

The ingredients list had been corrected.

Good for them for their prompt attention to this matter.

But then I got to thinking...

This company is pretty big. Correction. They're huge. They provide ingredients and packaging to large scale manufacturers as well as smaller outfits – all the way down to teensy-sized operations such as mine.

These folks have (expansive) departments all over the world and a stocklist as long as your arm, leg and more to come. In short, there are a LOT of bits and pieces to keep track of.

Imagine if you will that they have been selling this preservative for years. Imagine if you will that nobody ever noticed this typo before I came along the other day and pointed it out to them. 

Imagine if you will that this is where the whole polyparaben misunderstanding got started in the first place.

We'll never know for certain, but I sure can't help wondering.

More about Polly

Polyparaben - the most dangerous of them all


Dene said…
Herbigerm? What a bizzare combination for a preservative blend! Given that the mixture of propylene glycol, methylparaben, propylparaben and diazolidinyl urea is a effective, well-established blend in its own right, I can't begin to understand the logic of adding the other components. It is pointless, unless the manufacturer is trying to make the overall blend look more "natural" - but it's NOT "natural" because of the excellent synthetic preservatives used in it! Strange!
LisaLise said…
HI Dene - I agree, and I believe that is exactly what this company is aiming to do - most especially since they named it 'Herbigerm' (just sounds more natural, doesn't it?). I have never seen this combo of ingredients either - why I was curious to give it a try. I'm guessing it has a very fresh and natural scent to it with the addition of tea tree oil and rosemary oil.

To be fair- the company is NOT listing it as a natural preservative.

Thanks for your input :)
Anonymous said…
If only all companies were that willing to correct a mistake. Perry Romanowski pointed out a long time ago to the EWG that Polyparaben does not exist. Fast forward 3 years and it's still listed in their database.
Colin said…
I know this company. Actually even though they operate in several countries and are a substantial business they aren't enormous. They have entertained me several times over the years with the amiable battiness and creative interpretations of what was actually ordered. Unless I am much mistaken that particular blend postdates your discovery of the EWG polyparaben bloomer.
LisaLise said…
Chris - thanks for your input. I believe Perry Romanowski is not the only one to alert the EWG as to their blooper. They seem to have ignored everyone who has tried informing them about polyparaben.
LisaLise said…
Colin - thanks so much for clearing this up! As to the size of the company, you're right in that you would have to see them through my eyes to perceive them as large. The real big boys can't be bothered with the piddly-sized orders I can place. :)