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Water Res. 2015 Jan 1;68:1-11.

Occurrence, fate and behavior of parabens in aquatic environments: a review.

Author information

1
ANSES, Nancy Laboratory for Hydrology, Water Chemistry Department, 40 rue Lionnois, 54000 Nancy, France.

Abstract

Parabens are esters of para-hydroxybenzoic acid, with an alkyl (methyl, ethyl, propyl, butyl or heptyl) or benzyl group. They are mainly used as preservatives in foodstuffs, cosmetics and pharmaceutical drugs. Parabens may act as weak endocrine disrupter chemicals, but controversy still surrounds the health effects of these compounds. Despite being used since the mid-1920s, it was only in 1996 that the first analytical results of their occurrence in water were published. Considered as emerging contaminants, it is useful to review the knowledge acquired over the last decade regarding their occurrence, fate and behavior in aquatic environments. Despite treatments that eliminate them relatively well from wastewater, parabens are always present at low concentration levels in effluents of wastewater treatment plants. Although they are biodegradable, they are ubiquitous in surface water and sediments, due to consumption of paraben-based products and continuous introduction into the environment. Methylparaben and propylparaben predominate, reflecting the composition of paraben mixtures in common consumer products. Being compounds containing phenolic hydroxyl groups, parabens can react readily with free chlorine, yielding halogenated by-products. Chlorinated parabens have been detected in wastewater, swimming pools and rivers, but not yet in drinking water. These chlorinated by-products are more stable and persistent than the parent species and further studies are needed to improve knowledge regarding their toxicity.

PMID:
25462712
DOI:
10.1016/j.watres.2014.09.030
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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