Parabens, the alkyl esters of p- hydroxybenzoic acids (PHBA) , are a group of non- persistent chemicals used individually or in mixtures to reach preferred antimicrobial- and preservative effects.
They are especially effective against molds and yeasts, and are widely used because of their antimicrobial-, and relatively non- irritating- and non- sensitizing properties. Parabens have low acute toxicity , but have been associated with allergy. They also have low cost, and are pH-stable. A study from 2008 on the other hand, investigated chemical concentrations in 204 cosmetic products bought from stores in Stockholm . 44 % of the products tested contained parabens. There are many types of chemical structures of parabens.
Examples of chemical structures of parabens that I know are Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, isopropylparaben, n-Propylparaben, Benzylparaben, and isobutylparaben. But research has shown that parabens and their byproducts can act like estrogen in animals. Although the potential effects on humans aren’t clear, an analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that most people whom they tested had detectable levels of parabens in their urine. And humans aren’t the only ones getting exposed. As products containing these preservatives wash into the sewage system, they can be released into the environment. Parabens were non-mutagenic in several in vitro assays, although methyl and ethyl paraben increased chromosomal abnormalities in some animal cell assays (CIR, 2008). The FDA classifies methyl and n-propyl paraben as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) for addition to foods, up to 0.
1% (21 CFR 184.1490), and allows these and butyl paraben up to specified amounts as additives and preservatives in specific foods (21 CFR 172.515) (Soni et al., 2005).Parabens were first used in pharmaceuticals in the 1920s and now are widely used in a variety of personal care, cosmetics and food products. It is very harmful to human and have adverse effects to human body. First effect is breast cancer. This is because parabens have estrogen-like characteristics.
If we take in large doses it can effect our bloods hormones concentration. Once in the body, parabens are known to mimic estrogen, a hormone that promotes cell growth. Second effects of parabens is, it promote skin ageing.
One type of paraben that effect the skin ageing is methylparaben. Certain product may cause skin to age excessively when exposed to ultra-violet ray. Parabens also effects to environment. It will give toxin to environment. Due to the widespread use of Parabens, it has been detected in soil, sewage water, swimming pools, house dust, but not in drinking water in developed countries.Due to widespread use of parabens, it is difficult to ban but we can decrease paraben exposures can be achieved by reducing the use of cosmetics or by decreasing or removing the paraben in cosmetic product. We also can consume fresh fruits and vegetables rather than canned ones, avoid pre-packed foods for kids because food given to infants and toddler should be prepared at home, avoid semi-cooked or dehydrated food that needs very little cooking and prefer fresh dairy products like milk, cheese and yoghurt to packed ones that last longer. In drugs, you have to take your medicine regularly even if they contain Parabens.
As already discussed, occasional exposure to Parabens might not be a health hazard. It is the daily exposure to Parabens in cosmetics and foods that should be avoided.