Prenatal exposure to chemicals in personal care products linked to earlier puberty in girls

Association of phthalates, parabens and phenols found in personal care products with pubertal timing in girls and boys

Girls exposed to chemicals commonly found in toothpaste, makeup, soap and other personal care products before birth may hit puberty earlier, according to a new longitudinal study led by researchers at UC Berkeley (see press release).

2019 Study Abstract

Are in-utero or peripubertal exposures to phthalates, parabens and other phenols found in personal care products associated with timing of pubertal onset in boys and girls?

We found some associations of altered pubertal timing in girls, but little evidence in boys.

Certain chemicals in personal care and consumer products, including low molecular weight phthalates, parabens and phenols, or their precursors, are associated with altered pubertal timing in animal studies.

Data were from the Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS) longitudinal cohort study which followed 338 children in the Salinas Valley, California, from before birth to adolescence.

Pregnant women were enrolled in 1999–2000. Mothers were mostly Latina, living below the federal poverty threshold and without a high school diploma. We measured concentrations of three phthalate metabolites (monoethyl phthalate [MEP], mono-n-butyl phthalate and mono-isobutyl phthalate), methyl and propyl paraben and four other phenols (triclosan, benzophenone-3 and 2,4- and 2,5-dichlorophenol) in urine collected from mothers during pregnancy and from children at age 9. Pubertal timing was assessed among 179 girls and 159 boys every 9 months between ages 9 and 13 using clinical Tanner staging. Accelerated failure time models were used to obtain mean shifts of pubertal timing associated with concentrations of prenatal and peripubertal biomarkers.

In girls, we observed earlier onset of pubic hair development with prenatal urinary MEP concentrations and earlier menarche with prenatal triclosan and 2,4-dichlorophenol concentrations. Regarding peripubertal biomarkers, we observed: earlier breast development, pubic hair development and menarche with methyl paraben; earlier menarche with propyl paraben; and later pubic hair development with 2,5-dichlorophenol. In boys, we observed no associations with prenatal urinary biomarker concentrations and only one association with peripubertal concentrations: earlier genital development with propyl paraben.

These chemicals are quickly metabolized and one to two urinary measurements per developmental point may not accurately reflect usual exposure. Associations of peripubertal measurements with parabens may reflect reverse causality: children going through puberty early may be more likely to use personal care products. The study population was limited to Latino children of low socioeconomic status living in a farmworker community and may not be widely generalizable.

This study contributes to a growing literature that suggests that exposure to certain endocrine disrupting chemicals may impact timing of puberty in children.

This study was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the US Environmental Protection Agency. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


Produits cosmétiques sans perturbateurs endocriniens : pourquoi et comment

Sans, c’est mieux ! Heureusement des alternatives (bio) existent !

Vidéo via @phyts_bio et @ReseauES, mai 2019

Cancer, stérilité, autisme… Le Professeur Sultan témoigne sur les impacts santé des perturbateurs endocriniens. Or, certains cosmétiques “classiques” en contiennent !

  • Référence (vidéo) Phyt’s, mai 2019, facebook.
  • Sources scientifiques #sanscestmieux sur facebook.
Le Distilbène DES, perturbateur endocrinien, en savoir plus

Green is the New Pink

Stop Putting Cancer-causing Chemicals on Your Face

Many beauty ingredients have been linked to breast cancer.


Endocrine Disruptors

Perturbateurs endocriniens : tous intoxiqués?

Les nouveaux poisons de notre quotidien

Enquête de santé, Allo Docteurs France 5, 01/02/2017.

Un documentaire / débat diffusé le 31 janvier 2017 sur France 5.



Les perturbateurs endocriniens, substances chimiques, sont présentes dans de nombreux objets de consommation courante : plastiques, résidus de pesticides sur les fruits et légumes, OGM, cosmétiques, lunettes, semelles de chaussures… Ils interagissent avec le système hormonal et seraient responsables de l’augmentation de certains cancers, selon des associations impliquées dans les problèmes de santé liés à l’environnement.

Sur le même sujet

Le Distilbène, Perturbateur Endocrinien

Soins du corps : n’achetez pas de cosmétiques (non bio ou non écologiques)

Biocoop et l’achat responsable, 2014

Le visuel pousse les gens à s’interroger sur leur acte de consommation et sur certains ingrédients des produits cosmétiques et d’hygiène corporelle.

A travers sa campagne 2014 de data-telling, Biocoop poursuivit son discours de sensibilisation sur la portée de l’acte d’achat. Les images présentent des produits de consommation courante et montrent les effets néfastes sur la planète et pour notre santé.

Aquatic life needs further protection from effects of personal care products

An aggregate analysis of personal care products in the environment: identifying the distribution of environmentally-relevant concentrations

Personal care products (PCPs) are a diverse group of products, including toothpaste, shampoo, make-up and soaps. The number and use of these products has increased over recent decades, generating concern about their impact on the environment. This literature review analysed over 5 000 reports of environmental detection of 95 different chemicals from PCPs. The analysis reveals toxic levels of PCP chemicals in raw and treated wastewater, and in surface water. The researchers recommend treatment methods focusing on antimicrobials, UV filters and fragrance molecules.


An aggregate analysis of personal care products in the environment: Identifying the distribution of environmentally-relevant concentrations, science direct, Environment International, Volumes 92–93, July–August 2016, Pages 301–316, September 2016.

Lines on surface by patricksinot.

Over the past 3–4 decades, per capita consumption of personal care products (PCPs) has steadily risen, resulting in increased discharge of the active and inactive ingredients present in these products into wastewater collection systems. PCPs comprise a long list of compounds employed in toothpaste, sunscreen, lotions, soaps, body washes, and insect repellants, among others. While comprehensive toxicological studies are not yet available, an increasing body of literature has shown that PCPs of all classes can impact aquatic wildlife, bacteria, and/or mammalian cells at low concentrations. Ongoing research efforts have identified PCPs in a variety of environmental compartments, including raw wastewater, wastewater effluent, surface water, wastewater solids, sediment, groundwater, and drinking water.

Here, an aggregate analysis of over 5000 reported detections was conducted to better understand the distribution of environmentally-relevant PCP concentrations in, and between, these compartments. The distributions were used to identify whether aggregated environmentally-relevant concentration ranges intersected with available toxicity data. For raw wastewater, wastewater effluent, and surface water, a clear overlap was present between the 25th–75th percentiles and identified toxicity levels.

This analysis suggests that improved wastewater treatment of antimicrobials, UV filters, and polycyclic musks is required to prevent negative impacts on aquatic species.

Cosmetics use and age at menopause: is there a connection?

Endocrine disrupting chemicals and reproductive disorders


Cosmetics contain a vast number of chemicals, most of which are not under the regulatory purview of the Food and Drug Administration.

Only a few of these chemicals have been evaluated for potential deleterious health impact: parabens, phthalates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and siloxanes.

A review of the ingredients in the best-selling and top-rated products of the top beauty brands in the world, as well as a review of highlighted chemicals by nonprofit environmental organizations, reveals 11 chemicals and chemical families of concern: butylated hydroxyanisole/butylated hydroxytoluene, coal tar dyes, diethanolamine, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, parabens, phthalates, 1,4-dioxane, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, siloxanes, talc/asbestos, and triclosan.

Cosmetics use and age at menopause: is there a connection?, Fertility and Sterility, Volume 106, Issue 4, Pages Pages 978–990, September 15, 2016.

“Cosmetics” image akiraohgaki.

Age at menopause can be affected by a variety of mechanisms, including endocrine disruption, failure of DNA repair, oxidative stress, shortened telomere length, and ovarian toxicity.

There is a lack of available studies to make a conclusion regarding cosmetics use and age at menopause. What little data there are suggest that future studies are warranted. Women with chronic and consistent use of cosmetics across their lifespan may be a population of concern.

More research is required to better elucidate the relationship and time windows of vulnerability and the effects of mixtures and combinations of products on ovarian health.

Could your deodorant cause breast cancer?

Aluminium salts could be environmental breast carcinogens


Aluminium salts, present in many industrial products of frequent use like antiperspirants, anti-acid drugs, food additives and vaccines, have been incriminated in contributing to the rise in breast cancer incidence in Western societies. However, current experimental evidence supporting this hypothesis is limited. For example, no experimental evidence that aluminium promotes tumorigenesis in cultured mammary epithelial cells exists.

Aluminium chloride promotes tumorigenesis and metastasis in normal murine mammary gland epithelial cells, wiley, 7 September 2016.

We report here that long-term exposure to concentrations of aluminium—in the form of aluminium chloride (AlCl3)—in the range of those measured in the human breast, transform normal murine mammary gland (NMuMG) epithelial cells in vitro as revealed by the soft agar assay. Subcutaneous injections into three different mouse strains with decreasing immunodeficiency, namely, NOD SCID gamma (NSG), NOD SCID or nude mice, revealed that untreated NMuMG cells form tumors and metastasize, to a limited extent, in the highly immunodeficient and natural killer (NK) cell deficient NSG strain, but not in the less permissive and NK cell competent NOD SCID or nude strains. In contrast, NMuMG cells transformed in vitro by AlCl3 form large tumors and metastasize in all three mouse models. These effects correlate with a mutagenic activity of AlCl3.

We should avoid all deodorants containing aluminium salts.

Our findings demonstrate for the first time that concentrations of aluminium in the range of those measured in the human breast fully transform cultured mammary epithelial cells, thus enabling them to form tumors and metastasize in well-established mouse cancer models. Our observations provide experimental evidence that aluminium salts could be environmental breast carcinogens.

Environmental toxicants: hidden players on the reproductive stage

Endocrine disrupting chemicals: female and male reproduction


A growing body of evidence suggests that environmental contaminants, including natural gas, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and air pollution, are posing major threats to human reproductive health.

Many chemicals are in commonly used personal care products, linings of food containers, pesticides, and toys, as well as in discarded electronic waste, textile treatments, and indoor and outdoor air and soil. They travel across borders through trade, food, wind, and water.

Reproductive and other health effects can be incurred by exposures in utero, in the neonatal or adolescent periods, or in adulthood and can have transgenerational effects.

Environmental toxicants: hidden players on the reproductive stage, Fertility and Sterility, Volume 106, Issue 4, Pages 791–794, September 15, 2016.

Most chemicals do not undergo the level of evaluation for harm that pharmaceuticals, e.g., do, and they are rarely seen or seriously considered as a danger to human health.

Herein, the burden of exposures, challenges in assessing data and populations at risk, models for evaluating harm, and mechanisms of effects are briefly reviewed, ending with a call to action for reproductive health care professionals to advocate for further research, education, and chemical policy reform for the health of this and future generations.

The personal care products negative impacts on aquatic species

Aquatic life needs further protection from effects of PCPs

In order to fulfill a broad range of functions, personal care products (PCPs) contain a wide range of chemicals, from filters that block out UV light to antibiotics and insect repellents. PCPs are generally washed off the skin and, as a result, chemicals from PCPs have been found in raw and treated wastewater, surface and ground water, and even drinking water.

There are potential human health implications from ingesting these chemicals by way of drinking water or seafood. In addition, the entry of PCPs into surface waters could be toxic for aquatic organisms. Some PCP chemicals that repel water are particularly difficult to remove during wastewater treatment (which aims to protect the environment from the adverse effects of pollution) and can accumulate up the food chain. Wastewater solids (sludge) and effluent are in some cases applied to land to improve soil and for irrigation purposes, respectively, creating a risk that these compounds will indirectly enter nearby water bodies, or food crops. Early findings suggest wastewater treatment processes do not always ensure a safe concentration of PCP chemicals.

Aquatic life needs further protection from effects of personal care products, Science for Environment Policy, 16 September 2016.

Lines on surface by patricksinot.

This review combined recent findings to build a picture of the concentrations of chemicals from PCPs found in the environment. The researchers collected over 5 000 environmental detections of PCPs from around the world, including several European countries. The concentrations of the 95 detected chemicals were added to a database. Most environmental detections (2 290) were in surface water, followed by 1 240 detections in wastewater effluent, 879 in wastewater solids, and 873 in raw wastewater. By comparing the data on occurrence with toxicity data, also from previously published studies, they found that some levels measured in raw wastewater, wastewater effluent and surface water could be toxic to aquatic life.

The results also emphasise just how ubiquitous these chemicals are in the aquatic environment. Many chemicals were detected in the wastewater of several countries, such as the fragrance compound tonalide; nonylphenol (used to manufacture antioxidants, detergents and emulsifiers); the UV filter benzophenone-3 (used in sunscreen); and the anti-microbial agent triclosan. The highest reported concentrations were in North America and Europe, likely because per-capita consumption is higher in these areas.

The literature review showed that, after treatment, concentrations of chemicals from PCPs in wastewater can be reduced by between 33% and 90%. The UV filter octinoxate showed the highest average removal efficiency by wastewater treatment, while nonylphenol showed the lowest. In some cases, chemicals in treated wastewater remain above a level which has been shown to have harmful effects on aquatic organisms (such as the fragrance compound galaxolide, detected above a level of 0.1 micrograms per litre, and anti-bacterial triclosan, which has been detected above toxicologically-relevant concentrations of 0.65 micrograms per litre). However, it is important to note that aquatic organisms are not exposed directly to the levels in treated wastewater, which is diluted (although not always by a large factor) when it enters the receiving water body, such as a river.

In addition to being diluted, chemicals from PCPs can be broken down in the water body, although some are more resistant to natural attenuation than others. For example, galaxolide, nonylphenol and the UV filters sulisobenzone and 4MBC are generally removed well, while others are more resistant, such as octinoxate, the insecticide N,N-diethyl-3- methylbenzamide (DEET) and paraben preservatives. On average, concentrations in surface water were around half those in wastewater effluent.

Chemicals from PCPs have been detected in the environment for at least 30 years, and as PCP consumption and production increases, the implications for the environment will become even greater. As such, the researchers make three recommendations for the future:

  1. Continued monitoring. Monitoring should be conducted for compounds that have known toxic effects on organisms at environmentally relevant concentrations. They recommend that UV filters, polycyclic musks (a type of fragrance chemical; these include tonalide and galaxolide) and triclosan be considered priorities.
  2. Expand analysis to new compounds. Only a small proportion of the hundreds of PCP chemicals have been monitored in the environment so far. It is important to expand analysis to new compounds. Understanding the environmental distribution and concentrations of all chemicals from PCPs — as well as their derivatives — will allow toxicity analysis to be made more relevant, and enable evidence-based decision-making.
  3. Developing effective treatment processes. There is a need for more effective methods of treating water to remove/de-toxify chemicals from PCPs, particularly those of highest concern, to prevent negative impacts on aquatic species and on people.

It should be noted that the full removal of PCP chemicals by urban wastewater treatment plants is difficult, expensive and has environmental impacts (e.g. use of energy and chemicals, contaminated sludge disposal). It is an EU principle that a preventive approach should be taken in relation to environmental damage, with the aim of tackling it at source, for example by not authorising chemicals that could be harmful, or by restricting use. Legislation is in place to prompt or require consideration of alternative chemicals should those present in products on the market be identified as posing a risk to the environment or human health.