6 Ways to Curb Phthalate Skin Absorption

6 Ways to Curb Phthalate Skin Absorption
Higher levels of phthalates have been linked with higher risks for failed assisted reproduction procedures such as IVF and increased time-to-pregnancy. Higher phthalate levels have also been linked with developmental changes and neurological problems in babies and children, so it’s smart to learn how to reduce phthalate exposure before trying to conceive.

Just reducing phthalate exposure may help improve fertility, improve the chances of success with assisted reproduction and may profoundly protect normal childhood neurological development but figuring out where phthalates are lurking can be tricky.

Phthalates are everywhere in common personal care products and fragrances, and they’re very readily absorbed through skin. Research shows phthalate absorption is directly linked with the number of personal care products used daily (1,3) so it’s time to start looking at the fine print on product labels to figure out whether phthalates are getting a free ride into your body.

“The total number of different PCPs (personal care products) used was positively associated with urinary concentrations of methyl, propyl and butyl parabens and the main metabolite of diethyl phthalate in adults.” (1)

“These results strengthen the body of evidence suggesting that use of PCPs (personal care products) is an important source of exposure to parabens and diethyl phthalate in adults…” (1)

When a personal care product is applied, phthalates levels in urine increase measurably within six hours (2). So frequent application of personal care products is also likely to sky rocket phthalate levels. Just saying NO to phthalates can be tough so I’ve made it easy for you with these six product checks to get phthalates out of your bathroom and make-up bag.

1. Lotion

If lotion contains phthalates each application will increase phthalate levels inside the body and frequent applications will compound the effects and research found that lotion is a key source of phthalate exposure (3).

“…women who used lotion had BP concentrations 111% higher than non-users…” (3)

When choosing a lotion look for a 100% organic phthalate-free product.


2. Fragrance

Fragrances and perfumes use phthalate extensively so daily or frequent use of perfume is a sure-fire way to increase phthalate exposure.

“Women using cologne/perfume had MEP concentrations 167% higher than non-users…” (3)

“Lotion, cosmetic, and cologne/perfume use were associated with the greatest increases in the molar sum of phthalate metabolite…” (4)

Due to regulations regarding the itemization of ingredients in perfumes/fragrances phthalate is often identified on the label simply as ‘fragrance’ so it can be hard to pin-point exactly which phthalates are in a product. The secrecy of ingredients in perfumes/fragrances is actually protected by law.

Phthalate-free products are available but may be a little trickier to track down


3. Cologne & Deodorant

Studies show cologne and deodorant are key sources of phthalate exposure.

“The largest percent increase in monoethyl phthalate (MEP) was associated with use of cologne/perfume (83%) and deodorant” (74%)” (5)

“Other PCPs (personal care products) that were significantly associated with MEP concentrations included: hair spray, nail polish, and deodorant…” (8)

Look for 100% organic, phthalate-free brands.


4. Nail Polish

Nail polish is a tough one. Nail polish often contains phthalate (6), as a plasticizer it helps to make polish less brittle and more durable.

Because of the negative publicity surrounding phthalate in nail polish, some polish manufacturers began removing phthalate from nail products, but, in many products phthalate has simply been replaced by another endocrine-disrupting plasticizer: triphenyl phosphate (TPHP).
Nail polishes rely on plasticizers to achieve a desirable finish and durability.

Research (6) has found multiple inconsistencies in nail polish labeling making it tricky to choose a safe polish.

“This study highlights inconsistencies in nail polish labels and identifies TPHP and DEHP as ingredient substitutes for DnBP (phthalate).”

5. Dryer Sheets and Fragranced Laundry Products

It may be also wise to say NO to fragranced laundry products such as dryer sheets while trying to conceive - and while laundering baby clothing. Ever wondered how a fragrance becomes a long-lasting scent? It’s often down to phthalates which act as solvents to extend the life of a fragrance.

“the highest concentrations and numbers of detects were in the fragranced products (e.g., perfume, air fresheners, and dryer sheets)…” (7)

And good luck finding out exactly what is in your dryer sheets. Laundry product manufacturers may be a little sneaky when it comes to product labeling

“Many detected chemicals were not listed on product labels.”

“Common products contain complex mixtures of EDCs (endocrine-disrupting chemicals)” (7)

6. Hair Spray

Hair spray can also be a significant source of phthalate which can of course be inhaled as well as absorbed for a double-whammy effect.

“Other PCPs (personal care products) that were significantly associated with MEP concentrations included: hair spray, nail polish, and deodorant…” (8)

If you use hairspray regularly, hunt down a well-liked phthalate-free brand.

I hope this helps you identify potential source of phthalate exposure so you can tackle the task of lowering exposure before conception.

References:


(1) Environ Res. 2015 Jul;140:369-76. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2015.04.009. Epub 2015 May 2. Exposure to select phthalates and phenols through use of personal care products among Californian adults and their children. Philippat C1, Bennett D2, Calafat AM3, Picciotto IH4.

(2) Environ Health Perspect. Personal Care Product Use in Men and Urinary Concentrations of Select Phthalate Metabolites and Parabens: Results from the Environment And Reproductive Health (EARTH) Study.
Nassan FL1, Coull BA2, Gaskins AJ3,4, Williams MA5, Skakkebaek NE6, Ford JB1, Ye X7, Calafat AM7, Braun JM8, Hauser R1,5,9.

(3) J Expo Sci Enviro Med. 2014 Sep-Oct;24(5):459-66. doi: 10.1038/jes.2013.69. Epub 2013 Oct 23. Personal care product use and urinary phthalate metabolite and paraben concentrations during pregnancy among women from a fertility clinic. Braun JM1, Just AC2, Williams PL3, Smith KW2, Calafat AM4, Hauser R2.

(4) Environ Res. 2017 Oct;158:342-349. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2017.06.035. Epub 2017 Jul 3. Neurotoxicity of fragrance compounds: A review.
Pinkas A1, Gonçalves CL2, Aschner M2.

(5) Environ Health Perspect. 2017 Aug 18;125(8):087012. doi: 10.1289/EHP1374. Personal Care Product Use in Men and Urinary Concentrations of Select Phthalate Metabolites and Parabens: Results from the Environment And Reproductive Health (EARTH) Study.
Nassan FL1, Coull BA2, Gaskins AJ3,4, Williams MA5, Skakkebaek NE6, Ford JB1, Ye X7, Calafat AM7, Braun JM8, Hauser R1,5,9.

(6) Environ Sci Technol. 2018 Nov 6;52(21):12841-12850. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.8b04495. Epub 2018 Oct 10. Phthalate and Organophosphate Plasticizers in Nail Polish: Evaluation of Labels and Ingredients. Young AS1, Allen JG1, Kim UJ2, Seller S3, Webster TF4, Kannan K2, Ceballos DM1.

(7) Environ Health Perspect. 2012 Jul;120(7):935-43. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1104052. Epub 2012 Mar 8. Endocrine disruptors and asthma-associated chemicals in consumer products. Dodson RE1, Nishioka M, Standley LJ, Perovich LJ, Brody JG, Rudel RA.

(8) J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2013 Mar;23(2):197-206. doi: 10.1038/jes.2012.105. Epub 2012 Nov 21. Women's exposure to phthalates in relation to use of personal care products. Parlett LE1, Calafat AM, Swan SH




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