How harmful are chemicals taken from care products?
Chemicals are used in the manufacture of many products. These often get into the body of the users and cause various health problems there. Researchers have now found that so-called phthalates and parabens, which are found in many personal care products, can also be found in men's urine.
Certain chemicals such as phthalates and parabens are widely used in personal care products. The scientists from the internationally recognized Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found in a recent investigation that these chemicals are also detectable in men's urine samples. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Environmental Health Perspectives".
In which products are phthalates and parabens found?
So-called phthalates are used as plasticizers in numerous products. The use ranges from vinyl floors to food packaging. Parabens are widely used in various personal care products such as sunscreen and deodorants. They are intended to extend their shelf life. Some of the chemicals are so-called endocrine disruptors (hormone-active substances), which can have negative effects on the health of users.
What are endocrine disruptors?
Endocrine disruptors are substances that can change the human hormone system. If an excessive dose of these chemicals gets into the body, this can lead to health damage, the experts explain. Endocrine disruptors can occur naturally in the environment or can be produced synthetically. The actual effects on human metabolism have so far been largely unexplored.
Doctors examine urine samples from 400 men
For their study, the experts examined a total of 1,037 urine samples from 400 men. These men reported using 14 different personal care products. Urine samples were taken between 2004 and 2015.
Perfumes, deodorants, sun creams and lotions contain harmful chemicals
By analyzing the urine samples, the scientists found that the largest amounts of phalates ingested were associated with the use of perfumes and deodorants. The largest percentage increase in parabens was related to the use of sunscreen and hand or body lotions. An increased concentration of these chemicals could usually be found within just six hours of using the products, the doctors say.
Harmful chemicals are common in today's society
Identifying the main sources of phthalate and parabens exposure is of paramount importance to those affected and medical professionals, because the use of these chemicals is widespread in today's society and can have a negative impact on human health. Previous epidemiological studies on phthalates and parabens have so far mainly focused on women and children. For example, in one of these studies, the researchers found that phthalates increase the risk of allergy in children.
Understanding of the effects of chemicals needs to be improved
There have only been a few studies on the subject dealing with men. However, there are big differences in the type and frequency of contact with the chemicals between the two sexes, the scientists explain. A better understanding of the specific sources that contribute to an increased concentration of phthalates and parabens is therefore urgently needed, the researchers add. (as)