The health controversies of parabens

Skin Therapy Lett. 2013 Feb;18(2):5-7.


Parabens are preservatives used in a variety of personal care, cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food products. Studies have confirmed the ubiquitous presence of parabens, with levels detected in wastewater, rivers, soil and house dust. Parabens have also been detected in human tissues and bodily fluids, but it is the discovery of these chemical compounds in the breast tissue of patients with breast cancer that has raised public concern over their use. It is hypothesized that the estrogenic properties of parabens may play a role in breast cancer development. However, studies investigating the health effects of parabens are conflicting. At this point, there is an insufficient amount of data suggesting serious consequences from paraben use and exposure to warrant drastic avoidance measures or government regulations.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Cosmetics / adverse effects
  • Cosmetics / chemistry
  • Cosmetics / standards
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Food / adverse effects
  • Food / standards
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parabens / adverse effects*
  • Parabens / chemistry
  • Parabens / standards
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Preservatives, Pharmaceutical / adverse effects*
  • Preservatives, Pharmaceutical / chemistry
  • Preservatives, Pharmaceutical / standards
  • Receptors, Estrogen / drug effects
  • Risk Factors
  • Spermatozoa / drug effects*


  • Cosmetics
  • Parabens
  • Preservatives, Pharmaceutical
  • Receptors, Estrogen