Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in Cosmetics and their Potential Risks
As a result of civilization, people have adopted lifestyles that involve excessive use of cosmetics on their bodies in the recent days. Cosmetics includes materials produced and due sold to consumers for the use of skin alteration or improvising, cleansing, nails, lips and bathing among others. They include; lotions, fingernail polishes, facial make-ups, lipsticks, deodorants, shower oils, hair colors, powders and sprays beside others. People are increasingly using these products that contain endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC) that are harmful to the human bodies. Endocrine disrupting chemicals are that can interfere with the health of human bodies by producing adverse neurological, immune, development, and reproductive effects. Most popular endocrine disruption chemicals that are contained in cosmetics are; lead parabens, mercury, formaldehyde, phthalates, Arsenic, and Antimony among others (Pfuhler et al., 2010).
These are chemicals that are normally used as preservatives in most of the cosmetics. They are likely to be found in shampoos, deodorants, and body creams where, they are used to prevent the cosmetics from fungi and bacteria that may bring about severe effects to the body. Parabens are associated with allergic reactions in the body of the users although not all of them. Also in the recent days parabens are associated with cancer. According to various research, it is alleged that parabens have the ability to cause cancer primarily breast cancer. According to early research, Parabens can disrupt the hormone (Endocrine) system and also be found within breast cancer tumors of various women studied. Through these claims, most people, more so those in the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics are raising issues for banning of chemicals in the cosmetics. Parabens also are associated with causing reproductive difficulties in the males. They are said to mimic with estrogen hormone thereby causing problems in the males. Some companies are producing their products using lesser paraben content components for example phenoxyethanol organic compound used in the production of various creams. However still the cosmetics are still considered harmful (Pfuhler et al., 2010).
Cosmetics contain tiny portions of the lead. According to FDA, lead is an impurity that is available in low capacities mostly in color additives and the ingredients that are used in the production of various types of cosmetics. Lead is contained in colored lipsticks, nail colors, and sunscreens among others. According to recent research, there is no level of lead that can be prescribed or considered as safe in the human body. Therefore, even if the lead content is very low as it is the case for cosmetics, it still contains an effect on the health of people in the society. Lead is an already proven neurotoxin that is associated with behavioral, language and learning problems besides other defects in the body. It is also claimed to reduce the fertility rates in both men and women, delaying puberty in young girls together with causing miscarriage in pregnant women.
The term “phthalates” contain a generic background meaning, a universal class of compounds that are present in most of the products that humans encounter in their day to day endeavors. They are mostly used in plastics to make them flexible and soft. In cosmetics, these compounds are used in perfumes and sprays to blend the ingredients, to ensure the smell lasts for an extended period upon application of the products and as a denaturant. The most commonly used phthalates in cosmetics are; Diethyl phthalate (DEP), Dimethyl phthalate (DMP) and Dibutyl phthalate (DBP). The phthalate compounds that are contained in the body sprays and perfumes are absorbed through the skin and inhaled into the human body. These compounds are can cause retardation in genital development, which eventually will lead to reproductive issues in the society (Liu et al., 2012).
Formaldehyde chemical is used as a preservative in various industrial products like fertilizers and disinfectants. During the production of cosmetics, the companies use formaldehyde-releasing preservatives. This chemical is mostly released from soaps and shampoos as a measure to protect the people who are the consumers from the growth of bacteria and fungi. Many campaigns have been carried against the use of formaldehyde chemicals as it is alleged to cause skin cancer and allergies to the humans’ body. Previous research has clearly portrayed that formaldehyde chemical can lead to leukemia and cancer of the respiratory tube (Liu et al., 2012).
Many cosmetic products have previously tested positive for arsenic materials. This is worrying the people of many countries as they are exposed to health defects. Arsenic substances are claimed to be associated with the development of chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart diseases, together with both reproductive and development issues. Most products are produced and contaminated with arsenic as an ingredient that is harmful to the society (“Endocrine-disrupting chemicals – skincare and cosmetics – CHOICE,” n.d.).
Personal care products in Qatar
In the year 2014, Qatar experienced a boost in their economy with growth in the personal care products industry. Qatar was among the countries with most spenders on cosmetics and other related products. In the same year, there were around 1000 cosmetics sale points whereby, 150 were totally specialized in cosmetics only. The increment said to be due to the availability of disposable money among the citizens and the growth of the young generation population. The sale of personal care products is doing well in the Middle East. Although consumption is expected to decrease in 2015, still the industry is expected to contain a growth rate of not less than 4.5%. Current forecasts show that by the end 2017 the personal care market will be USD 1.3 billion as compared to USD 1 billion currently. Qatar is expected to feature among the leaders of this industry. However, most developed countries have already realized the health implications of most of the personal care products. These countries, therefore, has laid very high safety standards for companies that manufacture cosmetics. Therefore, most companies are discouraged from entry into personal care business. On the other hand, most citizens have been made aware of the side effects of the cosmetics and are working towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle (“Qatar cosmetics sector,” n.d.).
Although Qatar having high growth rates in the personal care industry, the country should consider the safety of various products that are in the market. From the earlier study, we have noticed that most cosmetics contain endocrine disrupting chemicals that are harmful to the human body. Therefore, the relevant authorities in Qatar should ensure that the products in the market are free from affecting the health statuses of individuals and the public should be well informed of the side effects of the personal care products (“Qatar cosmetics sector,” n.d.).
Therefore, personal care products are good products as far as the current civilization and lifestyle is concerned. However, people should consider the health implications of various products before using them in their bodies. People should avoid products that contain endocrine disrupting chemicals like lead. This will aid in the reduction of diseases like cancer, allergies and diabetes that are caused by those harmful chemicals contained in the personal care products. Also, the companies producing the products should be advised to produce human-friendly products free from endocrine disrupting diseases.
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals – skin care and cosmetics – CHOICE. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.choice.com.au/health-and-body/beauty-and-personal-care/skin-care-and-cosmetics/articles/endocrine-disrupting-chemicals
Kim, Y., Lee, J., & Moon, S. (2003). Degradation of an endocrine disrupting chemical, DEHP [di-(2-ethylhexyl)-phthalate], by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. pisi cutinase.Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. doi:10.1007/s00253-003-1332-5
Liu, J., Pan, X., Huang, B., Fang, K., Wang, Y., & Gao, J. (2012). An improved method for simultaneous analysis of steroid and phenolic endocrine disrupting chemicals in biological samples. International Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry. doi:10.1080/03067319.2010.510604
Pfuhler, S., Kirst, A., Aardema, M., Banduhn, N., Goebel, C., Araki, D., . . . Scheel, J. (2010). Corrigendum to ‘A tiered approach to the use of alternatives to animal testing for the safety assessment of cosmetics: Genotoxicity. A COLIPA analysis’ [Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 57 (2010) 315–324]. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology. doi:10.1016/j.yrtph.2010.09.001
The Qatar cosmetics sector. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.bqdoha.com/2015/05/qatar-cosmetics-sector
Villeneuve, S., Cyr, D., Lynge, E., Orsi, L., Sabroe, S., Merletti, F., . . . Guénel, P. (2010). Occupation and occupational exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals in male breast cancer: a case–control study in Europe. Occupational and Environmental Medicine. doi:10.1136/oem.2009.052175