As I mentioned in the Breast and Prostate Cancer Prevention article, phthalates and parabens are endocrine disruptors.
Phthalates are used in cosmetics, perfumes, aerosols, lotions, air fresheners, shampoos, conditioners, skin emollients, nail polish, and false fingernails. Do the products you use contain phthalates? Unfortunately, you will not find phthalates because companies are not required to list them in the ingredients. All you will see is simply the positive term “fragrance.” The most significant exposure is from inhalation of aerosols that can deliver highly absorbable phthalates. Skin exposure from lotions and creams can also reach significant amounts. Phthalates have numerous physiological effects, mainly related to steroid hormone disruptions. Although studies on individual phthalates have found them to be of low toxicity, the presence of multiple compounds can cause a dramatic enhancement of reactions, because of the additive and synergistic effects of multiple phthalates. The problem is that this allows every company to be able to say their product is safe. It is highly unlikely that all of the cosmetic companies are going to get together and pay for a study to prove that they jointly have a significant synergistic, negative effect.
Parabens, another set of toxic compounds, are found in shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, hair care products, shave gels, cosmetics, sunscreen, tanning lotions, deodorants, antiperspirants, and toothpastes. Cosmetic companies that use these also hide behind statistics so that you cannot prove that their individual product is causing problems. A recent study found a connection between paraben exposure and male infertility.
What can we all do to protect ourselves?
- Take a specific urine phthalates and parabens test and see if your levels are high. Call our office to schedule this test.
- If your phthalates and parabens levels are high then your beauty regime is toxic. Change it!
- Use safe cosmetics. There are many websites that will rate the products you use, such as the Environmental Working Group website: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/
Stay pretty, but not toxic!