Table of Contents
ISRN Toxicology
Volume 2013, Article ID 507897, 8 pages
Research Article

Paraben Levels in an Urban Community of Western Canada

1Faculty of Medicine, University of Alberta, Canada T6K 4C1
2ALS Laboratory Group, Canada T6E 5C1
3Forest Hills, NY 11375, USA

Received 3 October 2013; Accepted 24 October 2013

Academic Editors: J. Blasco and G. S. Shukla

Copyright © 2013 Stephen J. Genuis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


With effective antibacterial and antifungal properties, commercially used parabens are synthetic compounds widely utilized as preservatives in cosmetics, personal care products, pharmaceuticals, and as an additive in some foodstuffs. While long regarded as relatively safe and nontoxic, recent research has demonstrated xenoestrogenic properties of anthropogenic parabens with early evidence that paraben exposure may be linked to breast cancer, thyroid dysfunction, allergy, and obesity. In an attempt to determine the prevalence of paraben exposure in a Canadian urban community, a sample of convenience was done by measuring urinary levels of methyl, ethyl, propyl, butyl, and isobutyl parabens (MP, EP, PP, BP, and IP) in 39 consecutive patients in an Alberta primary care clinic. In 28 female patients including 9 pregnant women, the median urinary levels (in μg/L) were 25.45 for MP, 10.17 for EP, 2.80 for PP, 0.30 for BP, and 0.24 for IP. In 11 male patients, the median urinary levels (in μg/L) were 25.95 for MP, 10.37 for EP, 3.09 for PP, 0.35 for BP, and 0.22 for IP. Especially high urinary paraben levels were reported in a few patients, with the highest urinary concentrations (in μg/L) reported as 966.46 for MP, 220.6 as EP, and 612.73 for PP. It is evident that exposure to assorted parabens is a routine event for many if not most individuals, including pregnant women, in urban Alberta, Canada.