Parabens are man-made chemicals often used in small amounts as preservatives in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, foods, and beverages. Common parabens are methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben. Often more than one paraben is used in a single product.
People can be exposed to parabens through touching, swallowing, or eating products that contain parabens. Many products, such as makeup, moisturizers, hair-care products, and shaving creams, contain parabens. Parabens in these products are absorbed through the skin. Parabens also can enter the body when pharmaceuticals, foods, and drinks containing parabens are swallowed or eaten. Parabens that enter the body are quickly excreted.
Elevated methylparaben levels in a urine test may indicate exposure to this synthetic chemical. Methylparaben is one of the types of parabens, which are commonly used as preservatives in cosmetics, personal-care products like shampoo and shaving cream, pharmaceuticals, foods, and beverages to extend their shelf life and prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, and fungi.
While parabens have been widely used, concerns have been raised about their potential health risks. Studies have shown that parabens, including methylparaben, can be absorbed through the skin and are found in human urine. Some research has suggested that parabens may have endocrine-disrupting properties and could be associated with certain health issues, such as hormone imbalances. However, the specific health effects of parabens on humans are not well understood, and results from studies have been inconclusive.
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