E218 is a food additive approved by the European Union (EU) and used as an antifungal synthetic preservative in food products, drugs and cosmetics. It is more effective against yeasts and fungi than against bacteria.
The common names of E218 are methyl p-hydroxybenzoate and methyl paraben.
Once absorbed through the skin, E218 is hydrolysed to p-hydroxybenzoic acid. This is then rapidly excreted before being able to accumate in the body. There are some concerns that, when used in cosmetics, E218 may increase the likelihood of some contact allergies.
Examples of food and drink products that sometimes include E218:
- alcoholic drinks
- baked goods
- medicine, medicines