A new study suggests that the use of personal care products such as soaps and creams during pregnancy may be linked to adverse reproductive effects in newborns.
“The study found a link between women with higher levels of butyl paraben, which is commonly used as a preservative in cosmetics, and the following birth outcomes – shorter gestational age at birth, decreased birth weight, and increased odds of preterm birth,” said Laura Geer from SUNY Downstate Medical Centre in the US.
The antimicrobial compound, triclocarban, mainly added to soaps, was associated with shorter gestational age at birth. Another common chemical added to lotions and creams, propyl paraben, was associated with decreased body length at birth, researchers said.
“Our latest study adds to the growing body of evidence showing that endocrine-disrupting compounds can lead to developmental and reproductive problems in animals and in humans. Effects observed in previous studies mainly came from animal models only,” said Geer.
The study presents evidence of potentially adverse impacts in humans, researchers said. “Our study provides further evidence of the importance of assessing the risks of having these additional chemicals in our consumer products,” said Geer.
“While small-scale changes in birth size may not be of clinical relevance or cause for concern in individual cases, subtle shifts in birth size or timing at the population-level would have major impacts on the risk for adverse birth outcomes,” she added. The findings were published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials.