Beauty, household products cause breast cancer
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.
As people go about their daily lives, they are exposed to many different chemicals that could have negative effects on their 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.
Also, commonly used household cleaners could be making children overweight by altering their gut microbiota, suggests a Canadian study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
The study analyzed the gut flora of 757 infants from the general population at age three-four months and weight at ages 1 and 3 years, looking at exposure to disinfectants, detergents and eco-friendly products used in the home.
Researchers from across Canada looked at data from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) birth cohort on microbes in infant fecal matter.
They used World Health Organisation (WHO) growth charts for body mass index (BMI) scores.
Associations with altered gut flora in babies three-four months old were strongest for frequent use of household disinfectants such as multisurface cleaners, which showed lower levels of Haemophilus and Clostridium bacteria but higher levels of Lachnospiraceae.
The researchers also observed an increase in Lachnospiraceae bacteria with more frequent cleaning with disinfectants.
They did not find the same association with detergents or eco-friendly cleaners.
Studies of piglets have found similar changes in the gut microbiome when exposed to aerosol disinfectants.
“We found that infants living in households with disinfectants being used at least weekly were twice as likely to have higher levels of the gut microbes Lachnospiraceae at age three-four months; when they were three years old, their body mass index was higher than children not exposed to heavy home use of disinfectants as an infant,” said Anita Kozyrskyj, a University of Alberta pediatrics professor, and principal investigator on the SyMBIOTA project, an investigation into how alteration of the infant gut microbiome impacts health.
Babies living in households that used eco-friendly cleaners had different microbiota and were less likely to be overweight as toddlers.
“Those infants growing up in households with heavy use of eco cleaners had much lower levels of the gut microbes Enterobacteriaceae.
However, we found no evidence that these gut microbiome changes caused the reduced obesity risk,” she said.
She suggests that the use of eco-friendly products may be linked to healthier overall maternal lifestyles and eating habits, contributing in turn to the healthier gut microbiomes and weight of their infants.
“Antibacterial cleaning products have the capacity to change the environmental microbiome and alter risk for child overweight,” write the authors.
“Our study provides novel information regarding the impact of these products on infant gut microbial composition and outcomes of overweight in the same population.”