chemical information


Chemical Class:


Found in these people:

Jessica Assaf, Erin Schrode, Asta Haman-Dicko, Hope Atkins, Rizza Alcaria, Alex Wells, Anonymous Teen 9, Anonymous Teen 20, Emma Spencer, Christa Heffron, Natalie Klapper, Sydney Blankers, Anonymous Teen 11, Sarah Oswald, Caroline Burlingame, Laurie Mittelmann, Monica Paulson, Donalin Cazeau, Jenny Gilbertson, Anonymous Teen 21

Found in these locations:

San Rafael, CA; Ross, CA; San Leandro, CA; Tuolumne, CA; Manteca, CA; Washington, DC; Austin, TX; Winchester, MA; Portland, OR; San Francisco, CA; Belmont, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Palm Beach Gardens, FL; Langhorne, PA; North Caldwell, NJ; University Place, WA; Dorchester, MA; Novato, CA


Parabens are extremely common synthetic preservatives used in cosmetics and personal care products, and also in some foods, beverages, and pharmaceuticals. Parabens are absorbed rapidly through intact skin (Soni 2002). In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control detected methylparaben in nearly all of the 100 urine samples tested, indicating widespread exposure of Americans to this particular paraben compound (Ye 2006).

Parabens are known to trigger irritation and allergic reactions in the skin, especially damaged or broken skin (Schamberg 1967; Nagel 1977; Soni 2001, 2002; CIR 2006). Parabens are thought to mimic estrogen in the body (Routledge 1998); studies indicate methylparaben has weak hormone-disrupting characteristics (Routledge 1998; Byford 2002), causing concern that it may contribute to estrogen-stimulated breast cancers. A 2004 study testing for parabens in human breast cancer tumors found methylparaben in 19 of 20 tumors (Darbre 2004). Recent research has found that doses of methylparaben trigger growth responses in estrogen-sensitive breast cancer cells, responses similar to those provoked by a potent form of estrogen known as estradiol (Byford 2002; Pugazhendhi 2007).

The European Union has banned use of the sodium salt of methylparaben, known as sodium methylparaben, in fragrances because it can produce a depigmenting effect in skin (SCCPNFP 1999, 2000).


Preservative widely used in cosmetics. Can trigger skin allergy and irritation, and may be linked to hormone disruption and breast cancer.

Methylparaben has been found in 28 of the 28 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies.

Results for Methylparaben

in urine

Showing results from EWG Study #10, cosmetic chemicals in teens, Dateline NBC Families, Dateline NBC Families

EWG/Commonweal results

  • geometric mean: 77.7 ug/g creatinine in urine
  • found in 28 of 28 people in the group
6.47 ug/g creatinine in urine 2920

Methylparaben results