Study: Short Break From Cosmetics Causes “Significant Drop of Hormone Disrupting Chemicals”

(Alanna Ketler) A study led by researchers at UC Berkeley and Clinica de Salud del Valle Salinas has demonstrated how taking even a short break from various cosmetics, shampoos, and other personal care products can lead to a substantial drop in the levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals present within the body.

The post Study: Short Break From Cosmetics Causes “Significant Drop of Hormone Disrupting Chemicals” appeared on Stillness in the Storm.

Is “Non-Toxic” Nail Polish Really Non-Toxic? Maybe Not, Study Shows

Nail polishes have been linked to birth defects, thyroid problems, obesity, cancer, and allergic reactions. That’s why many people specifically shop for polishes labeled “non-toxic.” But as past research shows, even nail polishes marketed as non-toxic may contain chemicals that are harmful to your health. [1]

Study co-author Anna Young, a doctoral student at Harvard University, said: [2]

“It’s sort of like playing a game of chemical Whac-A-Mole, where 1 toxic chemical is removed and you end up chasing down the next potentially harmful chemical substituted in.”

It’s not just the nail polish industry that does this; it’s also commonplace in the pesticide and plastics industry.

Supposedly non-toxic nail polishes appeared on the market in the early 2000’s, when many companies began labeling products “3-free.” The phrase signifies that the product is free of:

  • Dibutyl phthalate, a plasticizer used to enhance a polish’s texture and function. It has been linked to reproductive and developmental problems.
  • Toluene, a known nervous system disruptor.
  • Formaldehyde, a carcinogen.

Some nail polish companies took things several steps further by removing even more chemicals, labeling their products “5-free,” “10-free,” and even “13-free.” This, however, does little to educate buyers about which chemicals have been removed and which chemicals have replaced them. That is what Young and her colleagues set out to find.

40 Nail Polishes Tested

For the study, the team purchased and tested the contents of 40 nail polishes from 12 different brands, labeled 3-free all the way up to 13-free.

The study didn’t name the brands, but 2 of the tested brands made up a combined 15% of the nail polish market.

Young said:

“We found that the meaning of these claims isn’t standardized across brands, and there’s no clear information on whether these nail polishes are actually less toxic. Sometimes, when 1 known harmful chemical was removed, the polish instead contained another similar chemical that may be just as toxic.”

Most of the 5-free polishes lacked the same handful of ingredients; however, Young and her team found far less consistency among polishes labeled 10-free and above. The brands varied in how they adhered to the claims on their labels.

None of the samples were found to contain dibutyl phthalate. But polishes with a range of labels tested positive for at least 1 of 2 other plasticizers linked with health problems. One polish was found to contain one of the chemicals its label claimed to exclude.

(Click for larger version.) Figure 1. Product label definitions for investigated nail polish product lines. Note: The blue color represents the ingredients that are removed from the product line, according to the label. Potential plasticizer ingredients are underlined. Nonplasticizer ingredients are not underlined. No. of nail polish brands refers to the number of brands that had a nail polish product line with that particular product label. *These two ingredients were reported to count as one exclusion. **Fragrances can contain plasticizer chemicals.

Just because a nail polish claims to exclude multiple substances, that doesn’t mean it’s safer than one that makes no such claims.

The findings applied to some of the most popular nail polish brands in the industry. Though the samples weren’t representative of the entire nail polish market, Young said the findings are relevant to anyone who likes to add a colorful hue to their nails.

Amusingly, some of the nail polishes the Harvard researchers analyzed excluded ingredients that pose no health risks at all, such as gluten, wheat, fat, and “animal-derived ingredients.” You only have to worry about those if you plan on drinking your nail polish. [1]

(Click for larger version.) Figure 2. Side-by-side comparison of concentrations (?g/g) of TPHP (top) vs DEHP (bottom) for 40 nail polish samples.

It’s not clear how much exposure it takes to affect a person’s health, but nail salon employees, in particular, should be concerned about the potential health risks of their job. [2]

Young said:

“This is especially important for the over 400,000 nail salon workers in the U.S. who could be exposed on a daily basis, for many years, to chemicals that have been linked to health effects on fertility, the reproductive system, fetal development, thyroid function, and possibly even obesity or cancer.”

Young and her fellow authors said that nail polish makers should focus more on excluding entire classes of ingredients – including phthalates and organophosphates – rather than individual compounds. [1]

They wrote:

“Then, certified labels could be useful tools for educating nail polish users, nail salon owners, and nail salon workers about toxic chemicals and how to make best purchasing decisions.”

The study was published in 2018 in the journal Environmental Science and Technology – so hopefully things have changed since then. Either way, be reminded that product labels and claims aren’t always so truthful or accurate.

Sources:

[1] Health

[2] Time

Is “Non-Toxic” Nail Polish Really Non-Toxic? Maybe Not, Study Shows

Nail polishes have been linked to birth defects, thyroid problems, obesity, cancer, and allergic reactions. That’s why many people specifically shop for polishes labeled “non-toxic.” But as past research shows, even nail polishes marketed as non-toxic may contain chemicals that are harmful to your health. [1]

Study co-author Anna Young, a doctoral student at Harvard University, said: [2]

“It’s sort of like playing a game of chemical Whac-A-Mole, where 1 toxic chemical is removed and you end up chasing down the next potentially harmful chemical substituted in.”

It’s not just the nail polish industry that does this; it’s also commonplace in the pesticide and plastics industry.

Supposedly non-toxic nail polishes appeared on the market in the early 2000’s, when many companies began labeling products “3-free.” The phrase signifies that the product is free of:

  • Dibutyl phthalate, a plasticizer used to enhance a polish’s texture and function. It has been linked to reproductive and developmental problems.
  • Toluene, a known nervous system disruptor.
  • Formaldehyde, a carcinogen.

Some nail polish companies took things several steps further by removing even more chemicals, labeling their products “5-free,” “10-free,” and even “13-free.” This, however, does little to educate buyers about which chemicals have been removed and which chemicals have replaced them. That is what Young and her colleagues set out to find.

40 Nail Polishes Tested

For the study, the team purchased and tested the contents of 40 nail polishes from 12 different brands, labeled 3-free all the way up to 13-free.

The study didn’t name the brands, but 2 of the tested brands made up a combined 15% of the nail polish market.

Young said:

“We found that the meaning of these claims isn’t standardized across brands, and there’s no clear information on whether these nail polishes are actually less toxic. Sometimes, when 1 known harmful chemical was removed, the polish instead contained another similar chemical that may be just as toxic.”

Most of the 5-free polishes lacked the same handful of ingredients; however, Young and her team found far less consistency among polishes labeled 10-free and above. The brands varied in how they adhered to the claims on their labels.

None of the samples were found to contain dibutyl phthalate. But polishes with a range of labels tested positive for at least 1 of 2 other plasticizers linked with health problems. One polish was found to contain one of the chemicals its label claimed to exclude.

(Click for larger version.) Figure 1. Product label definitions for investigated nail polish product lines. Note: The blue color represents the ingredients that are removed from the product line, according to the label. Potential plasticizer ingredients are underlined. Nonplasticizer ingredients are not underlined. No. of nail polish brands refers to the number of brands that had a nail polish product line with that particular product label. *These two ingredients were reported to count as one exclusion. **Fragrances can contain plasticizer chemicals.

Just because a nail polish claims to exclude multiple substances, that doesn’t mean it’s safer than one that makes no such claims.

The findings applied to some of the most popular nail polish brands in the industry. Though the samples weren’t representative of the entire nail polish market, Young said the findings are relevant to anyone who likes to add a colorful hue to their nails.

Amusingly, some of the nail polishes the Harvard researchers analyzed excluded ingredients that pose no health risks at all, such as gluten, wheat, fat, and “animal-derived ingredients.” You only have to worry about those if you plan on drinking your nail polish. [1]

(Click for larger version.) Figure 2. Side-by-side comparison of concentrations (?g/g) of TPHP (top) vs DEHP (bottom) for 40 nail polish samples.

It’s not clear how much exposure it takes to affect a person’s health, but nail salon employees, in particular, should be concerned about the potential health risks of their job. [2]

Young said:

“This is especially important for the over 400,000 nail salon workers in the U.S. who could be exposed on a daily basis, for many years, to chemicals that have been linked to health effects on fertility, the reproductive system, fetal development, thyroid function, and possibly even obesity or cancer.”

Young and her fellow authors said that nail polish makers should focus more on excluding entire classes of ingredients – including phthalates and organophosphates – rather than individual compounds. [1]

They wrote:

“Then, certified labels could be useful tools for educating nail polish users, nail salon owners, and nail salon workers about toxic chemicals and how to make best purchasing decisions.”

The study was published in 2018 in the journal Environmental Science and Technology – so hopefully things have changed since then. Either way, be reminded that product labels and claims aren’t always so truthful or accurate.

Sources:

[1] Health

[2] Time

The Cost of Looking Good: Experts Warn Cosmetic Testers Carry Disease

(Jhoanna Robinson) It’s not unusual for someone to try out a product first before heading to the cashier to pay for it, especially if there’s a tester for the item. However, would you still consider putting something on your lips and skin if you knew that it has been used by a lot of people already?

The post The Cost of Looking Good: Experts Warn Cosmetic Testers Carry Disease appeared on Stillness in the Storm.

Chemicals in Cosmetics, Other Products Tied to Early Puberty in Girls

It has become increasingly clear in recent years that exposure to numerous chemicals used in our daily lives can have a significant impact on human development. One recent study shows that chemicals in cosmetics and personal care products such as soaps and shampoos may push early puberty in girls. [1]

The study suggests that prenatal exposure to these chemicals is primarily to blame.

Phthalates and other chemicals have been linked to early puberty in girls in past research. These substances are found in scented products like perfumes, soaps, and shampoos. Two categories of chemicals called parabens and phenols are often used as preservatives in cosmetics. Exposure to the products are believed to interfere with sex hormones and the timing of puberty, but few studies have explored this connection in children.

Chemicals linked to early puberty are ubiquitous, however. Even toothpaste and skin lotions contain potentially-dangerous ingredients.

Study author Kim Harley explained that these chemicals:

“…get into our bodies either by absorption through the skin, by being inhaled, or being ingested [like lipstick]. Once they are in the body, they are quickly metabolized and [then] excreted in urine.” [2]

According to Harley, associate director of the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health at the University of California, Berkeley, the chemicals have “been shown to mimic estrogen in certain laboratory conditions.”

Her research reveals that puberty will occur earlier and earlier with increased exposure. However, Harley and her associates did not find a link between prenatal exposure to these chemicals and early puberty in boys.

Read: Age 10 the “New Norm” for Puberty in Girls Thanks to Chemicals

“We were a little surprised that the associations were only with the girls and we didn’t see much with boys. But since these tend to be estrogenic chemicals, it makes sense that they might impact girls.”

Personal Care Products May Cause Personal Harm

Click for larger version.

For the study, Harley’s team analyzed data collected in a study of pregnant women between 1999 and 2000. During their pregnancies, the women had their blood tested twice and they were interviewed to determine their level of exposures to the chemicals in question.

Nine in 10 of all urine samples collected from the pregnant women tested positive for phthalates, parabens, or phenols, though slightly fewer (7 in 10) women tested positive specifically for triclosan.

This could be because many cosmetic companies have voluntarily removed triclosan from their products, and because the chemical is now banned from antibacterial soaps and body washes, per a 2016 order by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The researchers tracked 338 of the women’s children through adolescence, collecting urine samples from them once they reached age 9. Then, the team tracked the onset of puberty in the kids between the ages of 9 and 13.

Some of the Findings

  • For every doubling of phthalate levels in an expectant mother’s blood, the development of her daughter’s pubic hair started 1.3 months earlier than usual.
  • When a mother’s triclosan levels doubled, her daughter’s first period started 1 month earlier than usual.
  • A doubling of paraben levels in girls was linked to the development of both her breasts and pubic hair 1 month earlier than usual.
  • Over 90% of the children’s urine samples showed concentrations of all of the chemicals in question, except triclosan.
  • Triclosan was found in 69% of the children’s urine samples.

But Harley said the findings don’t prove that chemical exposure causes early puberty in girls. [2]

“There is always the possibility that there were confounding factors that we were not able to control, or that our findings were due to chance.

That said, our findings are consistent with what we know about the endocrine-disrupting properties of these chemicals. So, although we are not ready to say that early life exposure to these chemicals causes earlier puberty in girls, we have enough evidence to be concerned.”

Read: Avoid These 5 Toxins for You and Your Child’s Health

One limitation of the study is that researchers weren’t able to tell if girls going through puberty might be more likely to use these personal care products, which could affect their personal exposure levels. [1]

Either way, exposure to these chemicals certainly isn’t a good thing, and in most cases, it’s easy to limit your exposure to these offending chemicals.

  • Harley said buyers should beware of toothpastes listing triclosan in their ingredients.
  • Furthermore, people should look for parabens, often listed as methyl paraben, or propyl paraben, on ingredient lists and avoid them, too.

It’s tougher to avoid diethyl phthalate, however, because it isn’t listed on labels and is often used in fragrances.

The study appears in the journal Human Reproduction.

Sources:

[1] Reuters

[2] HealthDay

Let Food Be Your Cosmetic: Coconut Oil Outperforms Dangerous Petroleum Body Care Products

(Sayer Ji) What you put on your skin goes directly into your body. Indeed, human autopsy studies have shown that mineral oil widely permeates our internal organs; major moisturizer brands have been found to cause tumor formation in treated animals. All the more reason why we need healthy “food cosmetics” as alternatives to petroleum-derived body care products.

The post Let Food Be Your Cosmetic: Coconut Oil Outperforms Dangerous Petroleum Body Care Products appeared on Stillness in the Storm.