4-AMINOBENZOIC ACID (PABA)
What is it?
What are the effects?
This substance belongs to the groups:
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a project of Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (previously the Breast Cancer Fund) list 4-Aminobenzoic acid (PABA) as a substance that may be an endocrine disruptor, may damage DNA in combination with UV radiation, and bioaccumulate in the environment and the food chain. As PABA dissolves in fats, it has been found to accumulate in fish.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) identifies PABA as a substance that “may cause serious eye irritation, causes skin irritation, may cause an allergic skin reaction and may cause respiratory irritation.”
The substance is prohibited for use in cosmetics in Canada. It is on the “Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist” from Health Canada.
There are also many ingredients that contain PABA derivatives, such as OD-PABA/Padimate O. The derivatives are highlighted an marked as PABA as well.
Researchers from Danish EDMaRC have found that almost half of all approved UV filters -including OD-PABA/Padimate O – in traditional sunscreens interfere with the function of sperm, which can lead to the sperm failing to fertilize an egg.
How is it used?
PABA is mostly used as a sunscreen chemical, working as a UVB filter, in different cosmetics and sun protection products. The chemical’s many derivatives are also used in the same way; as a UV filter that absorbs UVB light.
EDmaRC has found the following;
“Biomonitoring studies show that over 90% of the Danish population excretes UV filters in their urine not only during the summer period but throughout the whole year. It is caused by the wide industrial use of UV filters, not only in sunscreens but also in many other everyday consumer products, such as personal care products, food packaging, furniture, clothes, detergent, toys, cleansing agents and many others. Widespread use of UV filters is caused by their unique properties to protect colors from blushing and to protect plastic from melting due to sun exposure.”
We use the European Commissions definition of Cosmetics:
“Cosmetics range from everyday hygiene products such as soap, shampoo, deodorant, and toothpaste to luxury beauty items including perfumes and makeup”.
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