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  1. Resources for Consumers on Cosmetics

Cosmetics Safety Q&A: Parabens

FAQs Main Page

Are there safety concerns related to the use of parabens in cosmetics?

Parabens are preservatives that prevent the growth of potentially harmful bacteria that could live in some cosmetics products. Safety questions about the use of parabens in cosmetics center around parabens' potential to act like estrogen, a hormone that can be associated with the development of breast cancer. Studies have shown, however, that parabens have significantly less estrogenic activity than the body's naturally occurring estrogen. Parabens have not been shown to be harmful as used in cosmetics, where they are present only in very small amounts. To learn more, see Parabens.

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