Parabens are commonly used as preservatives and antimicrobial compounds in cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industries. Structurally they are similar to estrogen hormone and they interfere with nuclear receptors for androgens, estrogens, progesterone, glucocorticosteroids etc. Hence, they are considered as endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC)s. Studies in both human and rodents have established the role of parabens in altering steroidogenesis and activity of enzymes that metabolize endogenous hormones. Parabens disrupt normal function of the hormones and lead to reproductive, developmental and neurological disorders; thyroid related problems, skin allergy and cancers. Scientific articles supporting these assertions have led some countries banning or restricting paraben usage. A number of substitutes, both natural and synthetic chemicals are now in market as alternatives of parabens. This review article aims to provide adverse effects of paraben as well as potent paraben alternatives. The major alternatives include formaldehyde, triclosan and phenol, but those chemicals also have toxicity and side effects which are difficult to ignore. Moreover, the natural compounds have low shelf life and less potency. Therefore, more research is needed to establish the alternatives of parabens.
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Authors acknowledge Department of Zoology, University of Calcutta, Kolkata for support with the available library resources during the preparation of this manuscript.
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Mitra, P., Chatterjee, S., Paul, N. et al. An Overview of Endocrine Disrupting Chemical Paraben and Search for An Alternative – A Review. Proc Zool Soc 74, 479–493 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12595-021-00418-x