Switch in cosmetics lowers chemical exposure in teens

cosmetics750-410x273 Photo credit: Berkeley News

A new study led by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley and Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas has shown that even a short break from using makeup, shampoos and lotions that contain certain kinds of chemicals can reduce levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals in teens. The results, published March 7 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, came from a study of 100 Latina teenagers participating in the Health and Environmental Research on Makeup of Salinas Adolescents (HERMOSA) study. Researchers provided teen study participants with personal care products labeled free of such chemicals as phthalates, parabens, triclosan and oxybenzone. These chemicals are widely used in personal care products—cosmetics, fragrance, hair products, soaps and sunscreens—and have been shown in animal studies to interfere with the body’s endocrine system. Analysis of urine samples before and after a three-day trial in which participants used the lower-chemical products found significant drops in levels of these 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, who added that teen girls may be at particular risk. Read The Organic Center’s related interview with Kim Harley posted on this website.