Mixed chemicals in beauty products could harm women’s health

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Researchers say the products could negatively affect hormone levels

Coming into contact with dangerous chemicals is something that any sensible consumer would try to avoid, but what happens when they exist in products we use every day?

A recent study conducted by a researchers at George Mason University has identified several potentially hazardous compounds in beauty and personal care products. The team points out that women who buy and apply these products could be opening themselves up to several adverse health outcomes by creating imbalances in hormone levels.

“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,” said researcher Dr. Anna Pollack.

Chemicals affect hormone levels

Pollack and her colleagues came to their findings after collecting and testing samples from 143 women between the ages of 18 and 44. None of the participants were identified as having a chronic health condition.

The researchers tested each sample for various environmental chemicals that are often found in personal care products, such as parabens and benzophenones. They found that even low levels of contact with these compounds was associated with variations in the production of hormones like estrogen and progesterone -- which could negatively impact overall health in women.

Pollack explains that the key takeaway of the study is that these chemicals are extremely complex and that women should be careful when it comes to using certain beauty and personal care products. In some cases, she says that there may even be cause to worry about more serious health conditions.

“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.

The full study has been published in the journal Environment International.

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