Propylparaben is a white crystalline solid that is frequently used in cosmetics, skin care products and food. It has a generally low toxicity by ingestion. Propylparaben can irritate eyes, skin, intestinal and respiratory tracts upon contact, ingestion, and inhalation, respectively. It is also combustible.


According to animal studies, the toxicity of propylparaben by ingestion is low. Ingestion of a 0.03% solution of propylparaben irritated the intestinal tract and caused central nervous system depression and a felt-like feeling in the mouth.


Inhalation of high concentrations of airborne dusts of propylparaben can irritate the mucous membranes and upper respiratory tract. Symptoms can include coughing and sneezing.

Skin and Eye Exposure

Propylparaben can irritate the skin and cause itching and redness, especially if you are sensitive to other parabens such as methylparaben or ethylparaben. Eye contamination with propylparaben can cause tearing, blinking, pain.


Propylparaben can cause allergic reactions such as itching and bronchospasm by unspecified route of exposure in people sensitized to propylparaben and other parabens.

Embryotoxicity, Teratogenicity and Mutagenicity

Currently, there is no information available regarding the toxicity to an embryo, ability to cause malformations of an embryo or fetus and capability of inducing mutation or increasing the rate of mutation in DNA of propylparaben.

Spermicidal Activity

In the Bulletin of the Faculty of Pharmacy (Cairo University), Kassem et. al. reported that laboratory tests on human sperm show that propylparaben can kill sperm.

Fire Hazards

Propylparaben must be heated to very high temperatures for ignition to be a hazard. Although propylparaben is not sensitive to static discharge, dusts of organic compounds, such as propylparaben, can be ignited by static discharge especially if large amounts of dusts are allowed to accumulate. All equipment in used in the handling of propylparaben should be electrically grounded. Refer to NFPA 654, Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids, for comprehensive guidance.