Exposure to a cocktail of different chemicals widely used in cosmetics and personal care products can lead to changes in women’s reproductive hormones, a study has found.
Researchers from George Mason University in the US collected total of 509 urine samples were from 143 women aged 18 to 44 years.
They measured for environmental 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, which improved upon research that relied on one or two measures of chemicals,” said Anna Pollack, an assistant professor from George Mason University.
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.
The study also found 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,” said Pollack.
“We have early indicators that chemicals such as parabens may increase estrogen levels. If this finding is confirmed by additional research, it could have implications for estrogen dependent diseases such as breast cancer,” she said.
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