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Friday
Apr082016

Parabens Found in Marine Life

Parabens, a cosmetic and food preservative shown to cause hormone disruption in numerous studies, are showing up in the tissues of marine mammals, including dolphins, sea otters and polar bears, according to a study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

A redent analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that most people whom they tested had detectable levels of parabens in their urine. As products containing these preservatives wash into the sewage system, they can be released into the environment. 

The researchers analyzed 121 tissue samples from eight species of marine mammals from the coastal waters of Florida, California, Washington and Alaska. They detected methyl paraben in many of the samples. A metabolite of methyl paraben called 4-hydroxybenzoic acid (4-HB) was in every sample. The levels ranged from trace amounts of methyl paraben in polar bears to tens of thousands of nanograms of 4-HB per gram of tissue in some dolphins and sea otters. The metabolite also occurs naturally in plants, but the scientists say the positive correlation between methyl paraben and 4-HB in samples suggests they come from synthetic sources. They add that further research is needed to determine what potential health risks these substances might pose to marine animals.

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