Cumulative risk assessment and exposure characteristics of parabens in the general Taiwanese using multiple hazard indices approaches

Po Chin Huang, Hsin Chang Chen, Wei Chun Chou, Hui Wen Lin, Wan Ting Chang, Jung Wei Chang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parabens, a group of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), are well known preservatives in pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs). However, studies on parabens exposure and their cumulative effects in Asian population are limited. This study aimed to identify the exposure characteristics and estimate the cumulative risk of four parabens in the general Taiwanese. We have collected urine samples including 271 adults (18–97 yrs old) and 95 minors (7–17 yrs old), from Taiwan Environmental Survey for Toxicants 2013, and analyzed for four urinary parabens including methyl (MeP)-, ethyl (EtP)-, propyl (PrP)-, and butylparaben (BuP) by using ultraperformance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. The health-based guidance value (HBGV) and the antiandrogenic properties of parabens were used to calculate the hazard index (HI) for cumulative risk. MeP and PrP were most abundant compounds and startlingly higher than those in other countries. Adults had a higher geometric mean level of four parabens than minors (adults: MeP, 381.7; PrP, 108.6; EtP, 39.6 and BuP 6.3 ng/mL; minors: MeP, 65.7; PrP, 7.9, EtP, 2.6 and BuP 2.2 ng/mL). Participants who used a higher number of personal care products had a significantly higher risk with higher concentrations of PrP (above 75th %tile) [adjusted odds ratio (aOR): 1.79, 95 % CI: 1.01–3.15] and BuP [aOR: 1.78, 95 % CI: 1.03–3.07]. The median and 95th %tile HI (the sum of the HQs of each paraben) was as 1.10 and 4.39-fold higher than acceptable cumulative threshold (HI <1) and PrP accounted for 90 % of the HI. Our results indicate omnipresent exposure to parabens among the Taiwanese population, which might cause certain level of concerns. These significant increasing trends of HI with age dependence were observed, which mainly driven by PPCPS used. Routine survey of parabens in PPCPs and continued biomonitoring needs to be urgently addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number156821
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - 15 Oct 2022


  • Cumulative risk assessment
  • Hazard index
  • Parabens
  • Personal care products
  • Taiwanese


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