Phthalates and other potentially harmful chemicals found in many cosmetic products that girls and women use them regularly.
The study – led by Kim Harley, associate director of the University of California-Berkeley Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health – is published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives .
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), phthalates are a group of chemicals used in plastics, soils, detergents, soaps, shampoos, hair sprays, cosmetics and nail polish.
Once they enter the body, which are then converted into metabolites in the urine pass.
Although the effects of exposure to these chemicals are largely unknown, some types have shown that affects the reproductive system in laboratory animals.
The CDC says “more research is needed to assess the effects on human health from exposure to phthalates”, which is not particularly reassuring for consumers.
In addition, CDC has previously found significant levels of phthalate metabolites in the general population, suggesting that exposure to phthalates is far-reaching in the US population.
Previous research organization has also been found that adult women have higher levels of urinary metabolites than men, since phthalates are used in personal care products that are used most often by women.
Metabolites of chemicals decreased after 3 days
The researchers of this latest study wanted to investigate how to change cosmetic products – those marked free of phthalates, parabens, triclosan and oxybenzone – affect urinary metabolites in adolescents.
These chemicals have been shown in previous studies in animals to intervene in the body’s endocrine system.
“Because women are the main consumers in many personal care products,” says Harley, “may be disproportionately exposed to these chemicals.” She adds:
“Adolescent girls may be particularly at risk because it is a time of rapid reproductive development, and research has suggested that use personal care products more per day than the average adult woman.”
To conduct their research, researchers analyzed urine samples from 100 Latino teenagers who were participating in the Environmental Research and Health at makeup Teens Salinas study (Hermosa).
They measured metabolites in urine samples before and after a 3-day trial, in which the girls use products with less chemicals.
The results showed that the metabolites of diethyl phthalate – used in fragrances – decreased by 27%, while methyl and propyl parabens – used as preservatives in cosmetics – were reduced by 44% and 45%, respectively. Meanwhile, triclosan – found in soaps and toothpaste – and benzophenone-3 (BP-3) – found in sunscreens -. Both decreased by 36%
“The study results are particularly interesting scientifically,” says study co-director Kimberly Parra, “but the fact that high school students led the study establishes a new way to engage young people to learn about science and how it can be used to improve the health of their communities. ”
He adds that after the results of the study, many of the girls wanted to educate the community and presented his case to lawmakers in Sacramento, CA.
techniques consumers can reduce your exposure
Interestingly, another of the study results revealed a smaller increase in the concentrations of two less common parabens – ethyl and butyl parabens – but researchers say the levels were small and could be down to any of accidental contamination or substitution is not indicated on product labels.
The team points out that cosmetics and personal products are not well regulated in the US – Probably due to lack of data on health effects of exposure.
Medical News Today recently reported on a study suggesting a certain phthalate found in food packaging could lead to weight gain , for example.
“We know enough to be concerned about the exposure of adolescent girls to these chemicals,” says Harley. “Sometimes it’s worth taking a precautionary approach, especially if there are easy changes people can make in the products they buy.”
The researchers conclude its investigation by writing:
“This study shows that the techniques available to consumers, such as the choice of personal care products that are labeled to be free of phthalates, parabens, triclosan and BP-3 can reduce exposure staff potential endocrine disruptors “.