Thursday, 22 October 2015

Parabens and their byproducts found in dolphins and other marine mammals


Date:October 14, 2015
Source:American Chemical Society

The common cosmetic and drug preservatives known as parabens are in thousands of products -- and, at low levels, in the vast majority of Americans. Recent studies have raised concerns that the compounds might have unwanted health effects. Now scientists report for the first time that the antimicrobials are also showing up in the tissues of marine mammals, including dolphins, sea otters and polar bears. Their results appear in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Manufacturers have been adding parabens to some lotions, makeup, foods and pharmaceuticals since the 1950s. They prevent bacterial growth and extend products' shelf-lives. But research has shown that parabens and their byproducts can act like estrogen in animals. Although the potential effects on humans aren't clear, an analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that most people whom they tested had detectable levels of parabens in their urine. And humans aren't the only ones getting exposed. As products containing these preservatives wash into the sewage system, they can be released into the environment. Kurunthachalam Kannan and colleagues wanted to find out whether marine animals were accumulating parabens in their bodies, too.

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