News Room

CTFA Statement on Parabens

September 1, 2006

Contact:  Lisa Powers, CTFA (202) 331-1770

Parabens are a class of preservatives (ingredients that help to prevent microbial contamination) that are used in a variety of foods, drugs, and cosmetics and keep products safe.  Parabens have a long history of use in these products, and have been specifically recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Additionally, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel reviewed their use in cosmetics in 1984 and concluded that they were safe as used in cosmetics.

On November 14, 2003, as part of the normal re-review process, the CIR Expert Panel determined to conduct a thorough review of the literature since the previous report in 1984 to decide if it was necessary to change its previous conclusion which was parabens were safe as used in cosmetics.                      

On September 13, 2005, the CIR Expert Panel acknowledged that additional information being developed by industry should be reviewed before a final decision was offered, however it also confirmed that data available to this point did not indicate a safety concern with these ingredients as used in cosmetics.

On June 19, 2006, the CIR Expert Panel issued an amended final report on parabens with the conclusion that Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, and Benzylparaben are safe as used in cosmetics.

The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires that cosmetics and non-prescription drugs and their individual ingredients must be safe and that labeling must be truthful and not misleading. FDA can take immediate action to stop the sale of any product that does not meet its high standards.

Given the oversight by FDA, commitment of the industry, and long history of safe use, consumers can have confidence in their cosmetics and non-prescription drugs.