Pharmacokinetics of transdermal methyl-, ethyl-, and propylparaben in humans following single dermal administration


Parabens are common chemicals used as preservatives in foods, cosmetics, and personal care products. Although transdermal exposure to parabens occurs, studies on human pharmacokinetics (PK) following dermal exposure to parabens are scarce. In this study, the PK following dermal exposure to parabens was determined and compared with our previous findings on oral exposure. A paraben mixture cream containing 0.8% deuterated methyl-, ethyl-, and propylparaben (MeP-d4 0.26%; EtP-d4 0.26%, and PrP-d4 0.28%) was dermally applied to the whole arm of five male volunteers at a dose of 24 g/person over 30 min. Blood and urine samples were collected at several intervals over the course of 48 h to measure the levels of MeP-d4, EtP-d4, and PrP-d4 and their conjugated metabolites using HPLC-MS/MS. As a result of non-compartmental analysis, the average peak values of total (sum of conjugated and unconjugated metabolites) MeP-d4, EtP-d4, and PrP-d4 were reached at 7.8 h, 10.5 h, and 5.3 h, indicating a slower absorption rate compared to that of oral exposure (<2 h). The terminal elimination half-lives of MeP-d4, EtP-d4, and PrP-d4 were 12.2 h, 12.0 h, and 9.3 h, respectively. Fractional urinary excretion (Fue) of total MeP-d4, EtP-d4, and PrP-d4 was 1.7%, 2.3%, and 1.9%, respectively. The Fue of total and unconjugated PrP-d4 following dermal exposure was five times lower and three times higher, respectively, compared with those after oral exposure, suggesting that PrP is relatively less metabolized to the conjugated form after dermal exposure. Taken together, dermal exposure to paraben leads to a longer apparent half-life and results in higher proportions of biologically active unconjugated parabens in the systemic circulation as compared to oral exposure. This study provides insights into the kinetic properties of parabens and their metabolites in humans.

Authors: Mi-Yeon Shin, Jeong Weon Choi, Seungho Lee, Sungmin Kim, Younglim Kho, Kyungho Choi, Sungkyoon Kim
; Full Source: Chemosphere 2022 Oct 8;136689. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2022.136689.