Chemicals in beauty products and deodorants may harm women’s hormones and increase the risk of developing breast cancer…

Every day, we are exposed to potentially harmful chemicals in personal hygiene and household cleaning products.

Some chemicals affect hormone levels and may lead to diseases, such as breast cancer and heart disease.

According to a new George Mason University (GMU) study, women are particularly at risk because chemicals widely used in cosmetic and personal care products cause changes in reproductive hormones.

Harmful chemicals found in women

In their study, 509 urine samples were collected from 143 women aged 18 to 44 years, free of known chronic health conditions and birth control.

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The samples were measured for chemicals that are found in personal care products, such as parabens, which are antimicrobial preservatives, and benzophenones, which are ultraviolet filters.

“This study is the first to examine mixtures of chemicals that are widely used in personal care products in relation to hormones in healthy, reproductive-age women using multiple measures of exposure across the menstrual cycle,” explains Dr Anna Pollack, GMU Assistant Professor of Global and Community Health.

The study found that even low-level exposure to mixtures of chemicals commonly found in beauty products may affect reproductive hormone levels

She says that this approach helped improved upon research that relied on one or two measures of chemicals. This multi-chemical approach more closely reflects real world environmental exposures and shows that even low-level exposure to mixtures of chemicals may affect reproductive hormone levels.

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Another noteworthy finding of the study is that certain chemical and UV filters were associated with decreased reproductive hormones in multi-chemical exposures while others were associated with increases in other reproductive hormones, underscoring the complexities of these chemicals.

“What we should take away from this study is that we may need to be careful about the chemicals in the beauty and personal care products we use,” explains Pollack.

Chemicals such as parabens may increase oestrogen levels, which could have implications for oestrogen dependent diseases such as breast cancer

“We have early indicators that chemicals such as parabens may increase oestrogen levels. If this finding is confirmed by additional research, it could have implications for oestrogen dependent diseases such as breast cancer.”

Source: George Mason University via

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