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Ethylparaben sources, health risks

Thursday, November 02, 2017 by

Ethylparaben is a type of paraben, which are chemicals commonly used in cosmetics and foods because of their preservative properties. Parabens are para-hydroxybenzoic acid esters that are used as antimicrobial compounds, while ethylparaben is an ester form of parabens. Other esters include methyl, propyl, butyl, and benzyl forms.

Ethylparaben prevents the growth of fungi and bacteria that could reduce the shelf life of products.

Ethylparaben is used as a preservative in skin care products, such as skin creams, body lotion, and deodorant. These products are used to treat dry skin through essential oils, which include eucalyptus and primrose oil, serving as an antiseptic. In addition, ethylparaben is used as a preservative for pharmaceutical and adhesive preparations.

The chemical is also used as a preservative in food products such as soft drinks, condiments, baked goods, cheese, ice creams, alcoholic drinks, relishes, margarine, salad dressings, and other products.

According to an entry by, this preservative is approved by the European Union (EU), but is banned in Australia.

Ethylparaben has an E number of E214 and a molecular formula of C9H10O3. It is also commonly known as ethyl p-hydroxybenzoate.

Harmful effects that can be caused by ethylparaben

There are some harmful effects that ethylparaben can cause in the body. Ethylparaben may cause occasional hypersensitivity, which is usually shown as dermatitis. Ethylparaben in ointments can cause redness and swelling of eyelids caused by allergic contact dermatitis.

According to an entry by the, high concentrations of ethylparaben was found to have an association with breast cancer tumor in animal trials.

Body systems harmed by ethylparaben

Ethylparaben may be fatal if swallowed or if it entered the airways. 

The chemical is also bad for the digestive system when ingested. It can cause irritation in the gastrointestinal tract.

Ethylparaben is harmful for the integumentary system. When its particles come in contact with the skin, it may also cause irritation and corrosion.

Moreover, it is harmful for the ocular system when its particles come in contact with the eyes for it may cause irritation, redness, and pain. 

Ethylparaben is harmful for the respiratory system as inhalation of its dust particles can cause irritation in the respiratory tract.

Where to learn more


Ethylparaben is an ester of parabens that is used in cosmetic and food products. The chemical is used to prevent the growth of fungi and bacteria in products to avoid spoilage and increase shelf life. It is approved for use by the EU, but is prohibited in Australia.

Ethylparaben may cause dermatitis with symptoms of redness and swelling of the eyelids.

Ethylparaben has also been found to be associated with breast cancer cells.

Ethylparaben can cause irritations in the skin, eyes, respiratory tract, and gastrointestinal tract.

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