Thursday, December 6, 2018

Fragrance and Antimicrobial Chemicals in Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Lead to Earlier Puberty

Could some chemicals in the beauty and personal care products you used while pregnant trigger early puberty in your daughter? 

A new study, conducted by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, says yes.  The study followed over 300 children from before birth to adolescence and  found that the girls who's mothers had  higher levels of diethyl phthalate and triclosan in their bodies during pregnancy were more likely to  experienced puberty at younger age.
Why is earlier puberty not ideal?

For the past 20 years, there has been a trend showing girls (and boys) reaching puberty at a progressively younger age. At the turn of the 20th century, the average age for an American girl to get her period was 16 or 17. Today, that number has decreased to 12 or 13 years, with even earlier ages not uncommon. The concern with earlier puberty is that it has been linked with increased risk of mental illness, breast and ovarian cancer in girls and testicular cancer in boys.

What are these chemicals linked to earlier puberty and how can I avoid them?

The chemicals that were singled out in this latest study were triclosan and diethyl phthalate.  

diethyl phthalate

  • Phthalates are a class of chemicals that are endocrine disruptors:  in women they can either mimic or block female hormones, and in males, suppress the hormones involved in male sexual development. 
  • Phthalates cross the placenta.
  • Diethyl phthalate (DEP) is  often added to personal care products, such as nail polish, perfumes, deodorants, hair gels, shampoos, soaps, hair sprays, and body lotions, to carry fragrances. 
  • Phthalates must be listed among the ingredients on product labels, unless they are added as a part of the “fragrance.” Because diethyl phthalate is often used in fragrance it is especially hard to identify. Under current law, they can then simply be labeled “fragrance,” even though they may make up 20% or more of the product. 
  • All phthalates are readily absorbed into the human body 
  • The good news is that phthalates do not tend to accumulate in the body, instead they tend to pass out of the body quickly in urine and feces.  So if you are able to eliminate or significantly decrease your exposure to all phthalates you can eliminate their potential harmful effects

  • Triclosan
    • triclosan is an antimicrobial chemical that has endocrine disrupting capabilities
    • It has been linked to: lower testosterone levels and less sperm production, thyroid problems and antimicrobial resistance and earlier onset of puberty
    • Until recently, Triclosan was commonly used in soaps and antimicrobial hand sanitizers.
    • The FDA banned Triclosan from use in hand soap in 2017 because it was shown to be ineffective.  

    Women are commonly exposed to these two chemicals via personal care products they use every single day including toothpaste, makeup, soap and other personal care products.

    The personal care industry is not regulated by anyone- meaning companies that make personal care products do not have to disclose their ingredients nor prove the chemicals they use are safe.   This is a problem for women who , on average, use 12 personal care products and/or cosmetics a day, containing 168 different chemicals.  When we place a product on our largest organ, our skin, its ingredients are absorbed and, if pregnant, can make their way to the developing fetus.

    Limit you and your daughter's exposure to chemicals, especially endocrine disrupting chemicals, during key periods of vulnerability including pregnancy and puberty.

    1. Read labels. Avoid using products that contain phthalates. 

    2. Support companies committed to producing phthalate-free products

    3.  Choose personal care products, detergents, and cleansers that don't have the word "fragrance" on the ingredients list.

    4.  Avoid products that claim to be antimicrobial.  Triclosan, and similar chemicals, can be found in:  conventional deodorant. cosmetics, toothpaste, clothing (microban), antimicrobial kitchenware and even school supplies.

    5.  For personal care and cosmetics that I have researched and use and do not contain these chemicals, browse my Amazon Shop 

    6. Shop Made Safe  Products and The Detox Market 

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