In order to research the effects of parabens on unborn babies, a team led by Irina Lehmann from the Berlin Charité and Tobias Polte from the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research examined pregnant women.

The women had agreed to participate between 2006 and 2008, when they were asked about their use of cosmetics.

For the next eight years, the researchers followed the children's development.

The result: Children with a high level of parabens in their mother had a more than double risk of being overweight compared to others. Such an observational study alone cannot prove anything. Obesity in children is influenced by many factors. What is remarkable about the work is that the scientists were able to confirm the connection in a number of other experiments. The researchers first treated human fat cells in culture dishes with butyl paraben. This had no effect on the growth or development of the cells.