As an advocator for living toxin free, I always try to avoid using products containing chemicals. It's so important to use natural products, whether that be in your beauty, skincare or household cleaning products! In recent years, there have been many studies conducted that show just how harmful certain chemicals are for our health and overall wellbeing. However there was one in particular that caught my attention. A study was conducted on four chemicals, known as endocrine disruptors, often found in our everyday personal care and cleaning products. The results were incredible!
Which chemicals were tested?
According to researchers from the University of California, Berkeley and Clinic de Salud del Valle de Salinas, there are four commonly found cosmetic ingredients that are known endocrine disruptors. These include Phthalates, Parabens, Triclosan and Oxybenzone. Our endocrine system is responsible for regulating our hormones, reproductive system and metabolism. It also plays a role in the health of our cardiovascular, neurological and immune systems. Ingredients that are known endocrine disruptors can play havoc with this functioning!
What did the study involve?
The study conducted by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley and Clinic de Salud del Valle de Salinas, tested the levels of these harmful chemicals on developing teenage girls. 100 teenagers aged between 14 and 19, were involved in the study entitled HERMOSA (Health and Environmental Research on Makeup of Salinas Adolescents). Each of the teens were given personal care products labelled free of these endocrine disrupting chemicals to replace their usual products. Urine samples were taken before the switch began and after three days, to detect any changes.
Why were teenagers chosen?
Kim Harley, study leader and associate director of the UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health, explained, "Because women are the primary consumers of many personal care products, they may be disproportionately exposed to these chemicals. Teen girls may be at particular risk since it's a time of rapid reproductive development, and research has suggested that they use more personal care products per day than the average adult woman."
What did the results show?
Results taken from the initial urine test showed that 90% of the girls had detectable levels of these chemicals in their bodies to begin with.1 After 3 days of using personal care products free from toxins, their levels dropped dramatically!
Results showed that "metabolites of diethyl phthalate, commonly used in fragrances, decreased 27 percent by the end of the trial period. Methyl and propyl parabens, used as preservatives in cosmetics, dropped 44 and 45 percent respectively. Both triclosan, found in antibacterial soaps and some brands of toothpaste, and benzophenone-3 (BP-3), found in some sunscreens under the name oxybenzone, fell 36 percent."2 These reductions were seen after just three days of using chemical free products... how amazing is that!
Have there been other studies conducted on these hormone disrupting chemicals?
Back in 2013, a very similar study was conducted during an episode of Dateline. Their producer, Andrea Canning, had her levels tested as well as her children's. Her baseline numbers sat around the national average, whereas her six month old baby's Triclosan levels were 10 times higher than the national average. Andrea's toddler's levels of Triclosan were 100 times the national average!3 The next day, Andrea eliminated as many chemicals from her daily use as possible. She used natural products, ate fresh food and avoided plastic containing BPA. The results? Her numbers plummeted to almost zero! After just one day of living toxin free!
How can we detect these chemicals in our everyday products?
It's very difficult to detect whether all of these potentially harmful chemicals are in everyday products, as manufacturers are often legally able to get away with not listing them in their ingredients. Whereas Triclosan and Parabens will be labelled, Phthalates on the other hand may be disguised as 'fragrance' or 'parfum'. As you can never be 100% certain about which chemicals are included in mainstream skincare and beauty products, it's always important to go natural! Living toxin free enables you to shop, use and love products that really work, without the health risks!
(sources: 1ehp.niehs.nih.gov, 2sph.berkeley.edu, 3dateline)