Ecotoxicological aspects of the use of parabens in the production of cosmetics

Wiesław Barabasz,

Anna Pikulicka,

Zbigniew Wzorek,

Anna K. Nowak


Parabens are synthetic preservatives that are used on a large scale in the cosmetics, pharmaceutical and food industries. Their task is primarily to prolong the shelf life of selected products – cosmetics, medicines or food – by maintaining their microbiological purity. Parabens protect products against deterioration and microorganisms, extending their durability by up to several months without interfering with their composition and operation. Parabens do not change the aroma, taste, density or other characteristics of cosmetic or food products. However parabens, which occur in most cosmetics with a creamy or liquid formula (face creams, body lotions, foundation, tonics, lipsticks, deodorants, perfumes), are becoming increasingly worse because of the prolonged list of side effects that they may cause. The presence of intact paraben esters in human body tissues has now been confirmed by independent measurements in human urine, and the ability of parabens to penetrate human skin intact without breakdown by esterases and to be absorbed systemically has been demonstrated through not only in vitro studies but also in vivo investigation using healthy human subjects.

Parabeny są syntetycznymi konserwantami, które wykorzystuje się na szeroką skalę w przemyśle kosmetycznym, farmaceutycznym i spożywczym. Ich zadaniem jest przede wszystkim przedłużanie trwałości wybranych produktów – kosmetyków, leków czy artykułów spożywczych – poprzez utrzymywanie ich czystości mikrobiologicznej. Parabeny chronią produkty przed zepsuciem i drobnoustrojami, przedłużając ich trwałość  nawet o kilkanaście miesięcy i nie ingerując przy tym w ich skład oraz działanie. Parabeny nie zmieniają zapachu, smaku, gęstości oraz innych cech produktów kosmetycznych lub spożywczych. Parabeny, które występują w większości kosmetyków o kremowej lub płynnej formule (kremy do twarzy, balsamy do ciała, podkłady, toniki, pomadki, dezodoranty, perfumy) cieszą się jednak coraz gorszą sławą ze względu na wydłużającą się listę skutków ubocznych, które mogą powodować. Obecność estrów parabenów w tkankach ludzkiego ciała została potwierdzona przez niezależne pomiary w ludzkim moczu, a zdolność parabenów do penetracji nienaruszonej ludzkiej skóry bez rozpadu przez esterazy i do wchłaniania ogólnoustrojowego wykazano w badaniach nie tylko in vitro, ale także in vivo u zdrowych ludzi.

Słowa kluczowe: parabeny, toksyczność, przemiany, występowanie w środowisku, parabenes, toxicity, transformation, occurrence in environment

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