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Chemicals In Beauty Products May Harm Women's Reproductive Hormones, Says Study

In our day to day lives, we are exposed to many harmful chemicals and pollutants that take a toll on our health. But, what about the chemicals that are used in cosmetic products?

Multiple studies have shown that chemicals used in cosmetic products have a negative impact on women's hormones. A change in these hormones has been linked to heart disease and breast cancer.

A 2018 study published in the Environment International by George Mason University found a direct link between chemicals used in cosmetics and personal care products and changes in reproductive hormones [1] .

The research team analyzed 143 healthy women, aged 18 to 44 years, who had no chronic health conditions and didn't go through any birth control methods. 509 urine samples were collected from them and were measured for environmental chemicals that are found in personal care products, like parabens (antimicrobial preservatives) and benzophenones (ultraviolet filters).

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The study aimed at examining the mixtures of chemicals that are largely used in cosmetic products and to show that even low-level exposure to mixture of these chemicals may affect the reproductive hormones.

Another interesting finding of the study showed that certain chemicals and UV filters were linked to a reduction in reproductive hormones, while others were linked to an increase in reproductive hormones.

The researchers believe that parabens may increase oestrogen levels, which could lead to breast cancer. However, more research is needed to back this up.

Previously, researchers had found that certain products like hair-relaxing cosmetics contain strong chemicals [2] . 18 commonly used hair cosmetics like relaxers, anti-frizz products, and root stimulators were detected with 66 chemicals that had toxic effects on the skin.

The products contained parabens and phthalates, which are hormone-disrupting chemicals that disrupt the body's normal hormone balance. The researchers also found that a compound called nonylphenol is linked to an elevated risk of breast cancer and obesity.

These studies reflect on the importance of knowing the harmful chemicals used in personal care and cosmetic products that we use daily.

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View Article References
  1. [1] Anna Z. Pollack, Sunni L. Mumford, Jenna R. Krall, Andrea E. Carmichael, Lindsey A. Sjaarda, Neil J. Perkins, Kurunthachalam Kannan, Enrique F. Schisterman.Exposure to bisphenol A, chlorophenols, benzophenones, and parabens in relation to reproductive hormones in healthy women: A chemical mixture approach.Environment International, 2018; 120: 137
  2. [2] Helm, J. S., Nishioka, M., Brody, J. G., Rudel, R. A., & Dodson, R. E. (2018). Measurement of endocrine disrupting and asthma-associated chemicals in hair products used by Black women.Environmental research,165, 448-458.
Story first published: Wednesday, September 18, 2019, 18:30 [IST]