Chemicals in cosmetics

A new study found that taking even a short break from certain kinds of make-up, shampoo and lotion can lead to a significant drop in levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals in the body.

The result came from a study of 100 teenagers who were given personal care products labelled free of chemicals such as phthalates, parabens, triclosan and oxybenzone. These chemicals, widely used in cosmetics, perfumes, hair products, soaps and sunscreens, have been shown to interfere with the body’s endocrine system.

Exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals

“Because women are the primary consumers of many personal care products, they may be disproportionately exposed to these chemicals,” said study lead author Kim Harley, associate director of the UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health.

“Teen girls may be at particular risk since it’s a time of rapid reproductive development, and research has suggested that they use more personal care products per day than the average adult woman.”

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Chemicals widely used in cosmetics have been shown to interfere with the body’s endocrine system. There is growing evidence linking endocrine-disrupting chemicals to neurobehavioural problems, obesity and cancer cell growth.

Why the concern about chemicals in cosmetics?

The researchers say there is growing evidence linking endocrine-disrupting chemicals to neurobehavioural problems, obesity and cancer cell growth.

“We know enough to be concerned about teen girls’ exposure to these chemicals. Sometimes it’s worth taking a precautionary approach, especially if there are easy changes people can make in the products they buy,” said Harley.

The difference three days makes

Analysis of urine samples before and after a three-day trial in which the participants used the lower-chemical products found a significant drop in the level of these chemicals in the body.

Metabolites of diethyl phthalate, commonly used in fragrances, decreased 27 percent by the end of the trial period.

Methyl and propyl parabens, used as preservatives in cosmetics, dropped 44 and 45 percent respectively and both triclosan, found in antibacterial soaps and some brands of toothpaste, and benzophenone-3 (BP-3), found in some sunscreens under the name oxybenzone, fell 36 percent.

Source: University of California – Berkeley via Sciencedaily.com

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