Monday, March 12, 2012

Household products filled with hormone-disrupting chemicals: Study

Many household products contain chemicals
that have been linked to health effects.
Researchers have tested more than 200 common household products and found that they contain chemicals linked to asthma and hormone disruption.

The household products included soaps, lotions, detergents, cleaners, sunscreens, air fresheners, cat litter, shaving cream, shower curtains, pillow protectors, personal care products and perfumes.

The study identified 55 chemicals that could affect human health. These included phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA) and parabens, which can all negatively affect fetuses and young children.

Part of the problem is that these chemicals are not listed on the product labels, meaning that consumers may not even be aware of the exposure, the researchers say, adding that this applies to major brand names as well as alternative products often believed to be much safer.

According to the researchers, companies should be required to provide more complete labeling, so that consumers can protect themselves.

The study, titled Endocrine Disruptors and Asthma-Associated Chemicals in Consumer Products, is published in the March 8 online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives.

Industry representatives are warning that the mere presence of chemicals does not mean they are unsafe and that the research on health effects is inconclusive.

In order to protect themselves as much as possible, experts are advising consumers to
  • Choose natural (plant-based) products
  • Use natural cleaning agents such as water, baking soda and vinegar
  • Use less sunscreen and cover up with hats and other materials
  • Avoid fragrances and scented products when possible
  • Get rid of vinyl pillow and mattress protectors
  • Avoid parabens in personal care products
  • Use “normal” soap instead of antimicrobial products

Source: Health Day

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