Written on labels as: Propylparabens, isopropylparabens, butylparabens, and isobutylparabens, ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben and other ingredients ending in –paraben
Found in the following products: After-shave, acne products, shower cleansers, face scrubs, shampoos, conditioners and cosmetics
Chemical purpose: Parabens act as an estrogen mimicking preservative that discourages the growth of microbes.
Potential harmful risks:
Skin cancer: Applying personal care product containing parabens, especially methylparaben, can lead to UV-induced damage of skin cells and disruption of cell proliferation (cell growth rate).
Reproductive & developmental disorders: According to the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products, longer chain parabens may disrupt the endocrine system and cause reproductive and developmental disorders.
Some forms of parabens are banned in Denmark in cosmetic products for children up to 3 years.
Oishi S., Effects of butylparaben on the male reproductive system in rats. Toxicology and Industrial Health, vol 17, pp 31-9, 2001.
Darbre PD., et a., Paraben esters: review of recent studies of endocrine toxicity, absorption, esterase and human exposure, and discussion of potential human health risks. Journal of Applied Toxicology, 2008.