Paraben exposures and asthma-related outcomes among children from the US general population

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21 Scopus citations


Background: Parabens are synthetic preservatives present in many consumer products. Their antimicrobial and endocrine-disrupting properties have raised concerns that they might play a role in respiratory and allergic diseases; however, studies exploring these associations are scarce. Objective: We examined the cross-sectional association between parabens and asthma morbidity among 450 children with asthma and with asthma prevalence among 4023 children in the US general population participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2005-2014). Methods: We conducted multivariable logistic regression to examine associations between urinary paraben biomarker concentrations (butyl paraben, ethyl paraben, methyl paraben [MP], and propyl paraben [PP]) and asthma attacks and emergency department visits among children with asthma and with a current asthma diagnosis among all children. We also examined heterogeneity of associations by sex. Results: We observed an increased prevalence odds of reporting emergency department visits for every 10-fold increase in MP and PP concentrations among boys with asthma (adjusted prevalence odds ratio, 2.61 [95% CI, 1.40-4.85] and 2.18 [95% CI, 1.22-3.89, respectively; P interaction-MP = .002 and P interaction-PP = .003); associations remained after adjusting for other phenolic compounds previously linked to respiratory outcomes. No other dimorphic effects of exposure by sex were observed. Among children in the general population, no overall associations with current asthma were observed, although there was a positive trend with PP and a current asthma diagnosis. Conclusion: We identified differential effects of exposure to select parabens by sex on asthma morbidity. Further studies are needed to replicate these findings and elucidate mechanisms by which parabens could affect respiratory health and elicit dimorphic effects by sex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)948-956.e4
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Parabens
  • antimicrobials
  • asthma
  • children
  • endocrine disruptors
  • respiratory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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