Health risks of methylparaben

Methylparaben is a type of chemical that manufacturers often use as a preservative. They can be added to foods, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals to increase shelf life and prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi. Methylparaben belongs to a group of chemicals known as parabens. These are preservative ingredients that have been used for nearly 100 years to prevent the growth of fungi, bacteria, and yeasts, which can lead to product spoilage.

Manufacturers often include parabens in cosmetics, personal care products, foods, and pharmaceuticals. Common types of parabens are:

– Methylparaben
– Propyl Paraben
– Ethylparaben
– butyl parabens

Methylparaben is found naturally in many fruits, including blueberries. However, manufacturers often produce this compound artificially by combining a type of 4-hydroxybenzoic acid with methanol. In this article, we’ll look at methylparaben, including why its manufacturers use it, what products it’s in, and the health risks.

Definition of

Methylparaben is a preservative with the chemical formula C8H8O3. Manufacturers use preservatives, such as methylparaben, to prevent the growth of pathogens and stop unwanted chemical changes. Thus, these chemicals can protect both the producer and the consumer. However, there is some controversy regarding the safety of methylparaben. Although current evidence suggests this, other research points to how this chemical affects human health.

Why do people use it?

Methylparaben has many functions, most of which are related to the preservation of the product. They are used in particular as:

Antimicrobial food preservatives
Anti-fungal agents
– nerve agents
plant metabolites
Allergen control agents

The most common use of methylparaben is as an antimicrobial preservative in cosmetics.

What products contain it?

Many products may contain methylparaben. Examples include:

– Make-up
Hair styling products
Shaving cream
Moisturizing creams
– food
– Drugs

Product packaging usually indicates whether it contains methylparaben or another paraben.


Currently, the evidence for the safety of methylparaben is inconclusive. There is some evidence to suggest that methylparaben has negative health effects. But there is also little evidence to suggest that it is safe. The main warnings for methylparaben relate to the high concentrations of the chemical and indicate the following risks

Skin irritation or abrasion
Eye irritation or damage
Effects on the environment, as methylparaben can cause permanent damage to aquatic life.

Risks and considerations

Although research continues, one potential concern about methylparaben is its potential role as an endocrine disruptor. This term refers to a substance that can alter the function of hormones and have a negative effect on human health. Parabens can enter the body through skin absorption, ingestion and inhalation and can mimic the effect of estrogen. As such, this chemical may impair fertility and increase the risk of cancer.

A report published in 2022 suggests that methylparaben may indirectly lead to breast cancer. The report acknowledges that more research is needed. However, he did note several links, including the effect of methylparaben on hormones and the presence of intact parabens in human breast tumor tissue.

There is evidence to suggest that estrogen plays a role in the development of breast cancer. Therefore, the putative effect of methylparaben on breast cancer tissue growth is likely due to the way in which it can mimic elevated estrogen levels.

Another consideration for methylparaben is its association with skin irritation and allergy. A 2019 cross-sectional study found a link between parabens and allergic reactions in participants in the United States, Norway and Japan. This includes allergic reactions and allergic rhinitis.

How do you find products without methylparaben?

Methylparaben is present in many products, but it is quite possible to do without it. Manufacturers can use alternative ingredients to prevent microbial growth in personal care products. Some companies may also make preservative-free products with shorter shelf lives.


Methylparaben is a common type of paraben. This is a group of chemical compounds that manufacturers frequently use in products as preservatives. They can increase the shelf life of products by preventing the growth of pathogens that can spoil them. Although parabens can occur naturally, manufacturers often produce synthetic versions of them that they include in their products.

Although more research is needed, there is some data to suggest that this chemical may have an adverse effect on human health. In particular, this chemical may play a role in the development of breast cancer.


Endocrine disruption. (second abbreviation).

Hagar, E, et al. (2022). Minireview: Parabens, exposure, and breast cancer.

Mitsui Iwama, M, et al. (2019). Exposure to parabens, triclosan and allergic diseases in Tokyo: a pilot cross-sectional study.

Stoeber, T.; (2019). What are parabens and why do they not belong in cosmetics?

* Presse Santé strives to impart medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In no way can the information provided replace medical advice.

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