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Due to their antimicrobial activity, parabens are commonly used as preservatives in a variety of consumer goods including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products. During the production, usage and disposal of these products, parabens are released into the environment. In this study, the persistence of three widely used parabens; methyl-, propyl-, and butyl paraben in soil and their toxic effects on the soil invertebrate, Eisenia fetida was investigated. The results of this study indicate that selected parabens do not negatively affect the survival, growth, and reproduction of Eisenia fetida up to 1000 mg Kg-1 concentration. Further, these parabens (0-1000 mg Kg-1) exhibited a low persistence in soil with more than 90 % disappearing within three days. In contrast, only 16-54 % degradation of parabens occurred in frozen soil suggesting a microbial role in parabens degradation. This study demonstrates that methyl-, propyl-, and butyl parabens degrade rapidly in the terrestrial environment and therefore, are unlikely to pose a threat to species such as Eisenia fetida. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the toxicity of parabens to earthworms. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Samarasinghe Vidane Arachchige Chamila Samarasinghe, Kannan Krishnan, Robert John Aitken, Ravi Naidu, Mallavarapu Megharaj. Persistence of the parabens in soil and their potential toxicity to earthworms. Environmental toxicology and pharmacology. 2021 Apr;83:103574

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PMID: 33383196

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