Summary: Researchers say parabens and other chemicals found in common cosmetic products may negatively impact a woman’s hormone levels, increasing the risk for certain diseases.
Source: George Mason University.
As we go about our daily lives, we are exposed to many different chemicals that could have negative effects on our hormones. These hormonal changes have been linked to several adverse health outcomes such as breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, understanding chemicals that influence hormone levels is important for public health–and particularly for women’s health–since their exposure to these chemicals is often higher due to their presence in beauty and personal care products.
A new study published in Environment International by George Mason University Assistant Professor of Global and Community Health Dr. Anna Pollack and colleagues discovered links between chemicals that are widely used in cosmetic and personal care products and changes in reproductive hormones.
A total of 509 urine samples were collected from 143 women aged 18 to 44 years, free of known chronic health conditions and birth control to be measured for environmental chemicals that are found in personal care products, such as parabens, which are antimicrobial preservatives, and benzophenones, which are ultraviolet filters.
“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, using multiple measures of exposure across the menstrual cycle, which improved upon research that relied on one or two measures of chemicals,” Pollack noted.
This multi-chemical approach more closely reflects real world environmental exposures and shows that even low-level exposure to mixtures of chemicals may affect reproductive hormone levels. Another noteworthy finding of the study is that certain chemical and UV filters were associated with decreased reproductive hormones in multi-chemical exposures while others were associated with increases in other reproductive hormones, underscoring the complexities of these chemicals.
“What we should take away from this study is that we may need to be careful about the chemicals in the beauty and personal care products we use,” explains Pollack. “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.”
Source: Anna Pollack – George Mason University
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Original Research: Abstract for “Exposure to bisphenol A, chlorophenols, benzophenones, and parabens in relation to reproductive hormones in healthy women: A chemical mixture approach” by Anna Z. Pollack, Sunni L. Mumford, Jenna R.,Krall, Andrea E.,Carmichael, Lindsey A. Sjaarda, Neil J.,Perkins, Kurunthachalam Kannan, and Enrique F. Schisterman in Environment International. Published August 10 2018.
Exposure to bisphenol A, chlorophenols, benzophenones, and parabens in relation to reproductive hormones in healthy women: A chemical mixture approach
Little is known about the associations of bisphenol A, chlorophenols, benzophenones, and parabens with reproductive hormone levels in women. Our goal was to evaluate the associations between repeated measures of these chemicals and their mixtures with reproductive hormones in women.
Longitudinal urine samples from healthy, premenopausal women (n = 143 with 3–5 urine samples each) were measured for bisphenol A, five chlorophenols (2,4-dichlorophenol (2,4-DCP), 2,5-dichlorophenol, 2,4,5-trichlorophenol, 2,4,6-trichlorophenol, triclosan), two ultraviolet (UV) filters (benzophenone-1, benzophenone-3), and eight parabens and their metabolites (benzyl, butyl, ethyl, heptyl, methyl, propyl, 4-hydroxybenzoic acid (4-HB), 3,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid (3,4-DHB)) over two menstrual cycles. Estradiol, progesterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) were measured in blood up to 8 times each menstrual cycle. Linear mixed models were used for both single and multi-chemical exposures estimated using principal component analysis. Four factors were identified including: paraben; paraben metabolites and BPA, phenols, and UV filters. Models were adjusted for creatinine, age, race, and body mass index and weighted with inverse probability of exposure weights to account for time varying confounding.
In single-chemical models, 3,4-DHB was associated with estradiol (0.06 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.001, 0.12)), 2-4-DCP with increased progesterone 0.14 (0.06, 0.21) and decreased FSH −0.08 (−0.11, −0.04), and 4-HB was associated with increased FSH 0.07 (0.01, 0.13). In multi-chemical models, all factors were associated with increased progesterone (beta coefficient range: 0.15 for UV filter factor to 0.32 for paraben factor). The paraben factor and the paraben metabolite and BPA factor were associated with increased estradiol [0.21 (0.15, 0.28); 0.12 (0.07, 0.18)]. The phenol and UV filter factors were associated with decreased estradiol, FSH, and LH. The UV filter factor showed the strongest inverse association with estradiol −0.16 (−0.22, −0.10), FSH −0.12 (−0.17, −0.07), and LH −0.17 (−0.23, −0.10).
Mixtures of phenols were associated with changes in reproductive hormones. Such changes could contribute to adverse health in women but additional research is necessary.