By: Penny Roberts, Arbonne International
An international group under the umbrella of the United Nations environmental and health agencies issued a report, “State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, 2012.” They declared the level of hormone disrupting chemicals in the environment “a global threat that needs to be resolved.” One such chemical is phthalates.
Used in plastics such as toys, and personal care products such as hair sprays, deodorants, shampoos, lotions, and perfumes it is hard to avoid Phthalates exposure. In addition, the FDA does not require the ingredients of a “fragrance” to be listed individually. Phthalates were found in several consumer products where fragrance is an ingredient.
The American Academy of Pediatrics stated that infants exposed to infant care products, specifically baby shampoos, baby lotions, and baby powder, showed increased levels of phthalate metabolites in their urine.
A study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that five percent of women between age 20 and 40 had up to 45 times more phthalates in their bodies than researchers initially hypothesized. The CDC found phthalates in virtually every person tested.
Although the FDA website states that it is not clear what effect, if any, phthalates may have on health, it is know that Phthalates are known hormone disruptors. The website states that the levels found in humans are below those known to cause harm in animals and that there no definitive studies with a proven cause and effect relationship.
However, multiple studies have linked elevated levels of phthalates to health concerns. Studies have linked phthalates to developmental testicular abnormalities in male infants as well as elevated risk for sperm damage, and feminization of the male reproductive system. Also, Mt. Sinai in New York recently linked phthalates to ADHD.
One study of young girls with a premature appearance of breast tissue revealed that the average levels of measurable phthalate esters and their metabolites were six times higher than in controls. This is of concern because early puberty is.a risk factor for later-life breast cancer.
Dr. Leonardo Trasande, professor of environmental medicine at New York University, linked the phthalates found in processed foods to insulin resistance and obesity in teenagers. “In laboratory studies, phthalates influence the expression of genes related to how we respond to sugar ingestion with insulin secretion.”
In April of 2013 MD Anderson Hospital recommended avoiding all fragrances in all personal care products.
You may trust the FDA and wait for a definitive phthalate study linking cause and effect. Alternatively, you may be concerned about the increasing number of studies indicating “links” to health issues – and choose to reduce your exposure.
If you’d like to reduce your exposure to phthalates avoid products that list one of the many different types of phthalates as an ingredient. Avoid perfume or products with “fragrance” listed as an ingredient – unless you know it is phthalate-free. If using a perfume or fragrance that may contain phthalates, spray it on your clothes instead of your skin (and try not to inhale the spray).
Penny Roberts, Arbonne International
Where health meets beauty
About Penny Roberts
Penny Roberts is a networker with Arbonne International, www.pennyroberts.myarbonne.com. Her passion for health and wellness was ignited by surviving cancer. She offers a free monthly Healthy Living presentation with Dr. Anne Ouellette. She’s presented at the Cancer Support Community as well as at several other health centers.