The European Commission’s Scientific Committee for Human Safety (SCHS) is to look again at the use of parabens as preservatives in personal care products. As recently as 2011 the Committee decided that the potential endocrine disrupting and carcinogenic chemicals were safe at levels currently permitted in Europe.
Under the EU Cosmetics Directive parabens can be used at a maximum concentration of 0.4 per cent when used individually or 0.8 per cent when used as a mixture of esters.
The SCHS will now look at new research data, particularly concerning the risks to young children, to decide whether its previous opinions on parabens should be updated. Some countries have acted unilaterally on the issue. In 2010 Denmark outlawed the use of parabens in products for children under three.