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1. Introduction
Parabens present several features including broad-spectrum activity against yeasts, molds and bacteria over a wide ASA404 range, that make them widely used as preservative agents [1] and [2]. Nevertheless, recent studies revealed that these compounds may cause estrogenic and carcinogenic response at very low concentrations and, in this point of view, the parabens are endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) [3], [4], [5] and [6]. According to the analysis of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the average daily exposure to parabens of a person with a mass of 60 kg is 76 mg (1 mg from food, 50 mg from personal care products, and 25 mg from drugs) [7]. The allowed doses of parabens in the final cosmetic products are respectively 0.4% (w/w) for the single paraben and up to 0.8% (w/w) for the parabens mixture [8].
Although in European Union there is a restricted threshold for the content of those substrates in cosmetics, the wide spread usage of those products leads to the introduction of parabens to the aqueous environment, especially throughout wastewater treatment plants discharge. In fact, stimulus compounds have been found in rivers [9] and [10] and even in drinking water [11].