Other ConcernsUse restrictions (high), Multiple, additive exposure sources (low), and Biochemical or cellular level changes (high)
SYNONYMS4-AMINO- BENZOIC ACID, 4-AMINOBENZOIC ACID, AMINOBENZOIC ACID, ANILINE-4-CARBOXYLIC ACID, BENZOIC ACID, 4-AMINO-, BENZOIC ACID, 4AMINO, P-AMINOBENZOIC ACID, P-CARBOXYANILINE, P-CARBOXYPHENYLAMINE, PABA, and PABA (PARA-AMINOBENZOIC ACID)
Unacceptable: EWG VERIFIED products cannot contain this ingredient
A once-common sunscreen ingredient, now avoided due to allergic dermatitis and photosensitivity. Research indicates PABA has carcinogenic potential. PABA derivatives are now more commonly used, but these too may have health concerns.
See how this product scores for common concerns.
MODERATEAllergies & Immunotoxicity
LOWDevelopmental and Reproductive Toxicity
- DATA SOURCES
Products with this Ingredient
Biochemical or cellular level changes
|Produces excess reactive oxygen species that can interfere with cellular signaling, cause mutations, lead to cell death and may be implicated in cardiovascular disease.||Open scientific literature|
|Violation of government restrictions - Banned or found unsafe for use in cosmetics||Canada - Prohibited and Restricted Cosmetics Ingredients|
|Violation of government restrictions - Banned or found unsafe for use in cosmetics||CosIng|
Enhanced skin absorption
|Absorbs into the skin||Open scientific literature|
|Human any toxicant or allergen - moderate evidence||Open scientific literature|
|Limited evidence of immune system toxicity or allergies||Open scientific literature|
Multiple, additive exposure sources
|Used in food or as an additive with limited or no toxicity information available||FDA Everything Added to Food|
|Designated as safe for general or specific, limited use in food||FDA Food Additive Status|
|5422 studies in PubMed science library may include information on the toxicity of this chemical||NLM PubMed|
|Limited or incomplete evidence of cancer according to safety/hazard data – government assessment cannot classify as human carcinogen due to data gaps||Int'l Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) - Carcinogens|
|Not suspected to be an environmental toxin||Environment Canada Domestic Substance List|
Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
|Classified as not expected to be potentially toxic or harmful||Environment Canada Domestic Substance List|
Persistence and bioaccumulation
|Not suspected to be persistent||Environment Canada Domestic Substance List|
|Not suspected to be bioaccumulative||Environment Canada Domestic Substance List|
- Open scientific/peer reviewed literature
- Health Canada. 2007. List of Prohibited and Restricted Cosmetic Ingredients. Canada's Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist. March 2007.
- European Commission. 2013. Cosing, the European Commission database with information on cosmetic substances and ingredients. Accessed on March 1, 2013 at http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cosmetics/cosing/ .
- FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). 2008. EAFUS [Everything Added to Food]: A Food Additive Database. FDA Office of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
- FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) 2006. Food Additive Status List. Downloaded from http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/%7Edms/opa-appa.html, Oct 16, 2006.
- NLM (National Library of Medicine). 2012. PubMed online scientific bibliography data. http://www.pubmed.gov.
- IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer). 2008. Overall Evaluations of Carcinogenicity to Humans, as evaluated in IARC Monographs Volumes 1-99 (a total of 935 agents, mixtures and exposures).
- EC (Environment Canada). 2008. Domestic Substances List Categorization. Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) Environmental Registry.
Cosmetics and personal care products are not required to be tested for safety before being allowed on the market. The Skin Deep® scoring system was designed to help the public understand whether a product is safe to use or whether it contains ingredients of concern.
Every product and ingredient in Skin Deep gets a two-part score – one for hazard and one for data availability. The safest products score well by both measures, with a low hazard rating and a fair or better data availability rating.HOW WE DETERMINE SCORES
The Skin Deep ingredient hazard score, from 1 to 10, reflects known and suspected hazards linked to the ingredients. The EWG VERIFIED™ mark means a product meets EWG’s strictest criteria for transparency and health.
The Skin Deep data availability rating reflects the number of scientific studies about the product or ingredient in the published scientific literature.