Over the last few years, there's been a lot of back and forth about parabens, especially their possible effects as reproductive hormone disruptors. Now, the EU's Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety has released an opinion suggesting that, according to the available data, "systemic exposure from typical cosmetic use scenarios will be negligible."
The committee found that, at least with respect to the current model, only about one percent of butyl- and propyl-parabens put on skin actually gets into your system without breaking down. However, they also requested that a skin metabolism study be conducted, since none of the current data is totally conclusive. Basically, they're taking a tentative step toward saying that parabens are safe, which would be nice since they're in so many products. But is "we think it's probably OK" enough of an assurance for consumers?