For years I’ve been warning CV Skinlabs readers about potentially toxic chemicals in cosmetics, plastics, household cleaners, and other products we use in our daily lives.
I’ve talked about the particularly dangerous ones (such as those on our Ingredients to Avoid page) that have been linked to serious health problems like cancer, diabetes, and asthma, along with a number of others known to cause skin irritation, dryness, and premature aging.
Well my friends, the studies are starting to support what I’ve been saying, and recently, researchers put out a big one.
It was published in the scientific journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology just a short time ago, and it’s groundbreaking for two reasons:
- it confirms that some of these chemicals are causing disease in humans,
- and it puts a dollar amount on what those diseases are costing us.
Here’s more on what the researchers found, and how you can swap out some of the potentially dangerous products that may be in your home right now for safer, more nourishing options.
Researchers Examine Human Exposure to Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals
For the study, researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which has gathered information about major disease in our population by annually surveying about 5,000 volunteers.
They reviewed blood sample and urine analyses looking for the presence of hormone disrupting chemicals (also called “endocrine” disrupting chemicals), and then compared that to health issues that appeared in these participants’ lives during years of follow-up.
Next, they used advanced computer models to project disease totals that could be attributed to chemical exposure, and calculated the estimated health costs and lost income for each of those diseases.
For this study, researchers focused strictly on hormone-disrupting chemicals like the following:
- bisphenol-A, commonly used in plastic bottles and to line tin food cans
- phthalates, plasticizers found in many products, including cosmetics
- polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-like polybrominated diphenyl esters, or PBDEs, found in flame retardants in furniture and packaging
These chemicals have already been linked to:
- type 2 diabetes
- male infertility
- birth defects
- diminished IQ scores
In total, the researchers connected these chemicals to more than 15 medical conditions.
Results Show Chemicals Leading to Costly Disease
Results of the study showed the following:
- Annual healthcare costs and lost earnings in the U.S. from low-level but daily exposure to these hazardous chemicals add up to more than $340 billion. That’s more than 2.3 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
- Yearly exposure to highly toxic fire-resisting PBDE chemicals and pesticides accounted for nearly two-thirds of the total endocrine-disrupting chemical disease burden.
- Annual PBDE exposure was estimated to account for 11 million lost IQ points in children, and an additional 43,000 cases of intellectual disability.
- Pesticide exposure was estimated to cost 1.8 million lost IQ points and lead to more than 7,500 more disability cases each year.
- PCB-like chemicals were estimated to have a disease impact of more than $100 billion.
- Phthalate exposure was estimated to contribute to some 5,900 adults developing obesity, 1,300 cases of diabetes, 83,000 cases of endometriosis, and 10,700 early deaths from heart and other vascular diseases.
Researchers warned that their estimates were on the “low end of the scale,” and that the actual numbers could be much higher.
“Based on our analyses,” said lead author Leonardo Trasande, M.D., “stronger regulatory oversight of endocrine-disrupting chemicals is needed.” He suggested safety tests on the chemicals before the chemicals receive government approval, and studies on their health impacts over time.
How to Protect Yourself and Your Family from Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals
While we’re waiting for that government regulation to take place, what can families do?
We have a lot of good tips for you. First of all, remember the following:
- Don’t microwave in plastic-use glass or ceramic instead.
- Wash plastic food containers by hand rather than putting them into the dishwasher.
- Avoid using plastic products labeled with the numbers 3, 6, or 7 inside the recycle symbol (they contain phthalates).
- Switch to all natural or fragrance-free cosmetics.
- Dust and vacuum your home frequently, and leave shoes at the door.
- Avoid synthetic air fresheners.
- Check your furniture for fire retardant chemicals.
Next, when focusing on cosmetics, we have a few suggestions:
Safe Skin Balm
- Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, which contains mineral oil, synthetic fragrance, and BHT
- Aquaphor Healing Ointment, which contains mineral oil and petrolatum
Try our CV Skinlabs Restorative Skin Balm, which soothes, heals, and softens without the toxic chemicals, using sea buckthorn oil, arnica, and calendula instead.
Safe Facial Moisturizer
- Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion Plus, which contains mineral oil, petrolatum, urea, and propylene glycol dicaprate
- Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion, which contains dimethicone, benzyle alcohol, petrolatum, and distearyldimonium chloride
Try our CV Skinlabs Calming Moisture for Face, Neck, and Scalp. It contains none of these toxic ingredients, and uses aloe vera, beta glucan, and oat extract to reduce redness, calm skin, and produce a radiant, youthful look.
Safe Refreshing Spray
- Vaseline Spray and Go Moisturizer, which contains dimethicone, phenoxyethanol, methlparaben, and propylparaben
Try our CV Skinlabs Rescue + Relief Spray, which uses cucumber, water lily, and valerian to calm inflammation, remove heat, and cool skin.
Safe Body Lotion
- Eucerin Soothing Repair Lotion, which contains petrolatum, mineral oil, phenoxyethanol, PEG-40 sorbitan peroleate, propylene glycol, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), methylchloroisothiazolinone, and methylisothiazolinone
- Fresh-Seaberry Restorative Body Cream, which contains dimethicone, PEG-100 stearate, phenoxyethanol, sodium polyacrylate, benzoic acid, PG-5 laureth-5, and synthetic fragrance
Try our CV Skinlabs Body Repair Lotion, which uses St. John’s wort, calendula, and real natural oils (like olive, rose hip, and soybean) to deeply moisturize, soothe, and repair body skin.
What do you think of the results of this study?
SourcesTeresa M. Attina, et al., “Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the USA: a population-based disease burden and cost analysis,” The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, October 17, 2016; doi: 10.1016/S2213-8587(16)30275-3, http://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS2213-8587(16)30275-3/abstract.