chemical information


Chemical Class:


Found in these people:

Jessica Assaf, Asta Haman-Dicko, Hope Atkins, Rizza Alcaria, Anonymous Teen 9, 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; San Leandro, CA; Tuolumne, CA; Manteca, CA; Washington, DC; 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 (CIR 2006). In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control detected ethylparaben in 58 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 that ethylparaben has weak hormone-disrupting characteristics (Routledge 1998; Byford 2002; Gomez 2005), causing concern that it may contribute to estrogen-stimulated breast cancers. Research from 2002 found that doses of ethylparaben increased the growth and gene expression of estrogen-sensitive breast cancer cells, responses similar to those provoked by a potent form of estrogen known as estradiol (Byford 2002). A 2004 study testing for parabens in breast cancer tumors found ethylparaben in 16 of 20 tumors (Darbre 2004).


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

Ethylparaben has been found in 21 of the 28 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies.

Results for Ethylparaben

in urine

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

EWG/Commonweal results

  • geometric mean: 1.61 ug/g creatinine in urine
  • found in 21 of 28 people in the group
ug/g creatinine in urine 138

Ethylparaben results