Toxicological evaluation of isopropylparaben and isobutylparaben mixture in Sprague-Dawley rats following 28 days of dermal exposure

Min Ji Kim, Seung Jun Kwack, Seong Kwang Lim, Yeon Joo Kim, Tae Hyun Roh, Seul Min Choi, Hyung Sik Kim, Byung Mu Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The alkyl esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid (Parabens) have been of concern due to their probable endocrine disrupting property especially in baby consumer products. The safety of parabens for use as a preservative in cosmetics has come into controversy, and thus consumer demand for paraben-free products is ever increasing. Thus, more comprehensive studies are needed to conclusively determine the safety of the multiple prolonged exposure to parabens with cosmetic ingredients. This study was conducted to investigate the potential repeated 28 days dermal toxicity (50, 100, 300, or 600 mg/kg bw/day) of isopropylparaben (IPP), isobutylparaben (IBP), or the mixture of IPP and IBP in rats. There were no significant changes in body and organ weights in any group. However, histopathological examinations showed that weak or moderate skin damages were observed in female rats by macroscopic and microscopic evaluations. In female rats, no observed adverse effect levels (NOAELs) of IPP with no skin lesion and IBP for skin hyperkeratosis, were estimated to be 600 mg/kg bw/day, and 50 mg/kg bw/day, respectively. With regard skin hyperkeratosis, the lowest observed adverse effect level (LOAEL) of the mixture of IPP and IBP was estimated to be 50 mg/kg bw/day. Analysis of six serum hormones (estrogen, testosterone, insulin, T3, TSH, or FSH) in animals showed that only FSH was dose-dependently decreased in the mixture groups of 100 mg/kg bw/day or higher. These data suggest that the mixture of IPP and IBP showed a synergistic dermal toxicity in rats and should be considered for future use in consumer products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)544-551
Number of pages8
JournalRegulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


  • Cosmetics
  • Isobutylparaben
  • Isopropylparaben
  • Mixture toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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