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The BCERF program on the Cancer Risks of Environmental Chemicals in the Home and Workplace closed on March 31, 2010. No further updates will be made to this web site. Please go Cornell University’s eCommons web site to access BCERF’s archived research and educational materials (

Parabens: evidence of estrogenicity and endocrine disruption

This bibliography is provided as a service to our readers. It is compiled from the entries in the BCERF Environmental Risk Factors Bibliographic Database.

This bibliography is arranged topically. The topics include:

Parabens levels in breast tumors

Darbre, P. D., Aljarrah, A., Miller, W. R., Coldham, N. G., Sauer, M. J., and Pope, G. S. (2004). Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumors. Journal of Applied Toxicology 24, 5-13.

Harvey, P. W. (2003). Parabens, oestrogenicity, underarm cosmetics and breast cancer: a perspective on a hypothesis (editorial). Journal of Applied Toxicology 23, 285-288.

Harvey, P. W., and Everett, D. J. (2004). Significance of the detection of esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid (parabens) in human breast tumours (editorial). Journal of Applied Toxicology 24, 1-4.

Risk assessments and potential exposure to parabens

Elder, R. L. (1984). Final report on the safety assessment of methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben. Journal of the American College of Toxicology 3, 147-209.

Mason, M.M., Cate, C.C., Baker, J. (1971) Toxicology and carcinogenesis of various chemicals used in the preparation of vaccines. Clinical Toxicology 4, 185-204.

Soni, M. G., Burdock, G. A., Taylor, S. L., and Greenberg, N. A. (2001). Safety assessment of propyl paraben: a review of the published literature. Food and Chemical Toxicology 39, 513-532.

Studies demonstrating an estrogen-mimic effect of parabens

Blair, R. M., Fang, H., Branham, W. S., Hass, B. S., Dial, S. L., Moland, C. L., Tong, W., SHi, L., Perkins, R., and Sheehan, D. M. (2000). The estrogen receptor relative binding affinities of 188 natural and xenochemicals: structural diversity of ligands. Toxicological Sciences 54, 138-153.

Byford, J. R., Shaw, L. E., Drew, M. G., Pope, G. S., Sauer, M. J., and Darbre, P. D. (2002). Oestrognic activity of parabens in MCF7 human breast cancer cells. Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 80, 49-60.

Darbre, P. D., Byford, J. R., Shaw, L. E., Hall, S., Coldham, N. G., Pope, G. S., and Sauer, M. J. (2003). Oestrogenic activity of benzylparaben. Journal of Applied Toxicology 23, 43-51.

Darbre, P. D., Byford, J. R., Shaw, L. E., Horton, R. A., Pope, G. S., and Sauer, M. (2002). Oestrogenic activity of isobutylparaben In vitro and In vivo. Journal of Applied Toxicology 22, 219-226.

Inui, M., Tetsuya, A., Takenaka, S., Inui, H., Nakazawa, M., Ueda, M., Watanabe, H., Mori, C., Iguchi, T., and Miyatake, K. (2003). Effects o f UV screens and preservatives on vitellogenin and choriogenin production in male medaka (Oryzias latipes). Toxicology 194, 43-50.

Kang, K.-S., Cho, S.-D., and Lee, Y.-S. (2002). Additive estrogenic activities of the binary mixtures of four estrogenic chemicals in recombinant yeast expressing estrogen receptor. Journal of Veterinary Science 3, 1-5.

Lemini, C., Silva, G., Timossi, C., Luque, D., Valverde, A., and Gonzales-Martinez, M. (1997). Estrogenic effects of p-hydroxybenzoic acid in CD1 mice. 130-134.

Okubo, T., Yokoyama, Y., Kano, K., and Kano, I. (2001). ER-dependent estrogenic activity of parabens assessed by proliferation of human breast cancer

Pedersen, K. L., Pedersen, S. N., Christiansen, L. B., Korgaard, B., and Bjerregaard, P. (2000). The preservatives ethyl-, propyl- and butylparaben are oestrogenic in an in vivo fish assay. Pharmacology & Toxicology 86, 110-113.

Routledge, E. J., Parker, J., Odum, J., Ashby, J., and Sumpter, J. P. (1998). Some alkyl hydroxy benzoate preservatives (parabens) are estrogenic. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 153, 12-19.

Vinggaard, A. M., Kroner, W., Lund, K. H., Bolz, U., and Peterson, J. H. (2000). Identification and quatification of estrogenic compounds in recycled and virgin paper for household use as determined by an in vitro yeast estrogen screen and chemical analysis. Chemical Research in Toxicology 13, 1214-1222.

Parabens’ adverse effects on male reproduction

Fisher, J. S., Turner, K. J., Brown, D., and Sharpe, R. M. (1999). Effect of neonatal exposure to estrogenic compounds on development of the ducts of rat testis through puberty to adulthood. Environmental Health Perspectives 107, 397-405.

Kang, K.-S., Che, J.-H., Ryu, D.-Y., Kim, T.-W., Li, G.-X., and Lee, Y.-S. (2002). Decreased sperm number and motile activity on the F1 offspring maternally exposed to butyl p-hydroxybenzoic acid (butyl paraben). Journal of Veterinary Medical Science 64, 227-235.

Oishi, S. (2002a). Effects of butyl paraben on the male reproductive system in mice. Archives of Toxicology 76, 423-429.

Oishi, S. (2002b). Effects of propyl paraben on the male reproductive system. Food and Chemical Toxicology 40, 1807-1813.

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Prepared by Suzanne M. Snedeker, Ph.D.

We will make every effort to update this bibliography. If you have comments on this bibliography, or have a suggestion of a reference you would like us to review for inclusion in the bibliography, please send this information via email to: