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UC Berkeley Finds Exposure to Hormone Disruptors Reduced by Changing Personal Care Products

by kelly / March, 30 2016 01:30

Woman shopping for products

The results of a new study conducted by UC Berkeley and published in the journal Environmental Health Perspective finds that levels of potential hormone disrupting chemicals are reduced in the body after switching personal care products.

Who Participated

The UC Berkeley study surveyed 100 teenage girls. The teenage girls are part of a community university collaborative called Health and Environmental Research on Makeup of Salinas Adolescents between UC Berkeley, Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salina and a team of youth researchers from the CHAMACOS Youth Council. The project aims to involve young people in public health and the environment.

How the Study was Conducted

In the study the 100 participants were given personal care products free of parabens, phthalates, triclosan and oxybenzone. Some studies have shown these ingredients cause hormone disruption.

Urine samples of the participants were taken before and after a three-day trial of using these new products.

Study Results

Significant declines in the levels of the following chemical ingredients were found in the participants:

"Metabolites of diethyl phthalate, commonly used in fragrances, decreased 27 percent by the end of the trial period. Methyl and propyl parabens, used as preservatives in cosmetics, dropped 44 and 45 percent respectively. Both triclosan, found in antibacterial soaps and some brands of toothpaste, and benzophenone-3 (BP-3), found in some sunscreens under the name oxybenzone, fell 36 percent."

Study Key Conclusions

According to Kim Harley, associate director of the UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health:

"Because women are the primary consumers of many personal care products, they may be disproportionately exposed to these chemicals...Teen girls may be at particular risk since it's a time of rapid reproductive development, and research has suggested that they use more personal care products per day than the average adult woman."

Additionally the study proved helpful in educating young women and a community. According to study co-author Maritza Cárdenas and a former Salinas native:

“One of the goals of our study was to create awareness among the participants of the chemicals found in everyday products, to help make people more conscious about what they’re using…Seeing the drop in chemical levels after just three days shows that simple actions can be taken, such as choosing products with fewer chemicals, and make a difference.”

Our Stance

After learning about this study, one key conclusion for me is that it’s so important to read product ingredient labels so you know what you are putting on your skin! It also reaffirms our decision not to use any of these chemicals in our products.

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