|Preferred IUPAC name
E number E218; Tegosept; Mycocten
3D model (JSmol)
|E number||E218 (preservatives)|
CompTox Dashboard (EPA)
|Molar mass||152.149 g·mol−1|
|Appearance||Colorless crystals or white crystalline powder|
|UV-vis (λmax)||255 nm (methanol)|
|NFPA 704 (fire diamond)|
|Methyl salicylate (ortho isomer)|
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
(what is ?)
Methylparaben is an anti-fungal agent often used in a variety of cosmetics and personal-care products. It is also used as a food preservative and has the E number E218.
Methylparaben is commonly used as a fungicide in Drosophila food media at 0.1%. To Drosophila, methylparaben is toxic at higher concentrations, has an estrogenic effect (mimicking estrogen in rats and having anti-androgenic activity), and slows the growth rate in the larval and pupal stages at 0.2%.
There is controversy about whether methylparaben or propylparabens are harmful at concentrations typically used in body care or cosmetics. Methylparaben and propylparaben are considered generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the USFDA for food and cosmetic antibacterial preservation. Methylparaben is readily metabolized by common soil bacteria, making it completely biodegradable.
Methylparaben is readily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract or through the skin. It is hydrolyzed to p-hydroxybenzoic acid and rapidly excreted in urine without accumulating in the body. Acute toxicity studies have shown that methylparaben is practically non-toxic by both oral and parenteral administration in animals. In a population with normal skin, methylparaben is practically non-irritating and non-sensitizing; however, allergic reactions to ingested parabens have been reported. A 2008 study found no competitive binding for human estrogen and androgen receptors for methylparaben, but varying levels of competitive binding were seen with butyl- and isobutyl-paraben.
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