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Propylparaben Sodium

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 2, 2023.

Excipient (pharmacologically inactive substance)

What is it?

Propylparaben has been used as an antimicrobial preservative in the food, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical industries for over 50 years. The chemical formula for propylparaben sodium is NaC10H12O3, it is the sodium salt of propylparaben.

Propylparaben is easily absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract and skin, and metabolites are rapidly excreted in the urine. It does not appear to accumulate in the body. It is on the FDA generally regarded as safe list.

Animal toxicity studies suggest propylparaben is relatively nontoxic by both the oral and injectable routes, but may irritate the skin It has not been shown to be carcinogenic, mutagenic or clastogenic.[1][2][3] All parabens have similar structure to estrogen. Studies conducted in the early 2000s located traces of parabens in breast tumors, but evidence has not linked parabens with breast cancer.

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) reviewed the safety of methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben in 1984 and concluded they were safe for use in cosmetic products at levels up to 25%. Typically parabens are used at levels ranging from 0.01 to 0.3%.[4]

List of medications using Propylparaben Sodium


  1. Soni MG, Burdock GA, Taylor SL, et al. Safety assessments of propyl paraben: a review of the published literature. Food Chem. Toxicol. 39:513-32. Accessed 8/17/2012
  2. Dave RH. Overview of pharmaceutical excipients used in tablets and capsules. Drug Topics (online). Advanstar. 10/24/2008. Accessed 08/17/2011.
  3. FDA’s SCOGS database; propylparaben; SCOGS-Report Number: 8; Accessed 8/17/2012.
  4. US Food and Drug Administration. Cosmetics. Parabens. Accessed 8/19/2012.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.