Changing to chemical-free cosmetics can quickly lower levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals in the bodies of teens, reports a new study. Chemicals widely used in personal care products, including in many fragrances, cosmetics, hair products, soaps and sunscreens, have been shown to interfere with the hormone system in animals.
Teen girls may be at particular risk since it is a time of rapid reproductive development, and research has suggested that they tend to use more personal care products per day than the average adult woman.
In the study, 100 teenaged girls shifted to using chemical-free cosmetics rather than their regular products. In analysis conducted just three days after the study began, the hormone-disrupting chemicals in the girls’ urine fell between 27 and 45 percent.
According to the researchers, cosmetics and personal care products are not well-regulated in many countries and it is difficult to get data about their health effects. However, there is increasing evidence linking hormone-disrupting chemicals with behavioral problems, obesity and cancer cell growth, the researchers said.
"We know enough to be concerned about teen girls' exposure to these chemicals. Sometimes it's worth taking a precautionary approach, especially if there are easy changes people can make in the products they buy," the team behind the study noted.