Many personal-care products, such as shampoo, moisturizers and sunscreen, contain chemicals that may alter reproductive hormones, increasing the risk of breast cancer, heart disease and infertility, according to a new study published in Environmental International.
Consumer products often contain parabens (anti-microbial preservatives) and benzophenones (which filter UV rays), and though they have been studied separately quite a bit, researchers believe that studying these chemicals in combination more accurately reflects a person’s real-life exposure.
“We saw that together, even low levels of these chemicals increased estrogen levels in healthy women, which is associated with some forms of breast cancer,” says Anna Pollack, Ph.D., MPH, lead study author and an epidemiologist at George Mason University.
Though more research is needed, Pollack advises women to avoid these chemicals whenever possible. “Because of the lack of clear labeling, it’s difficult to see what is exactly in each product,” Pollack continues. “Also, making nontoxic or less-toxic purchasing decisions can be expensive.” Perhaps, but it could be worth the cost for optimal long-term health.
For advice on what to buy and what to avoid, check out beacusehealth.org and prhe.ucsf.edu/info.