New Study Reveals Chemicals in Shampoo and Makeup Linked to Early Death

A new study published in Environmental Pollution found that exposure to a common class of chemicals known as phthalates was linked to premature deaths, particularly deaths caused by heart disease.

chemical in shampoo causes early death
Image Courtesy: Canva

These synthetic chemicals can be found in a wide range of consumer products, including food storage containers, shampoo, makeup, perfume, and children’s toys.

Scientists have known for decades that man-made chemical phthalates can disrupt hormone function. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences warns that even minor hormonal imbalances can cause significant effects on the brain and immune system.

Several studies have linked phthalates to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

“This study adds to the growing database on the impact of plastics on the human body and bolsters public health and business cases for reducing or eliminating the use of plastics,” said lead author Dr. Leonardo Trasande, a professor of pediatrics, environmental medicine and population health at NYU Langone Health in New York City shared on CNN.

Trasande and his team at NYU Grossman School of Medicine studied over 5,000 adults aged 55 to 64. According to their findings, phthalates may contribute to some 91,000 to 107,000 premature deaths a year in the United States. People with the highest levels of phthalates had a greater risk of death from any cause, especially cardiovascular mortality. The authors estimate that early deaths cost the economy $40-47 billion annually.

Phthalates are commonly used to extend the life of products. They are often used in toiletries and cosmetics to keep fragrances fresh.

They are so common that they are nicknamed “everywhere chemicals.” According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, phthalate particles in dust might be a greater risk for children than for adults because children crawl around and touch many things, then put their hands in their mouths.

Meanwhile, the American Chemistry Council, a trade group representing the chemistry industry, defended the use of phthalates, describing it as “among the most thoroughly studied family of chemicals” with exposure levels many times below levels of concern.

Keeping your home phthalates-free

Trasande shared with the Insider a list of tips for keeping phthalates out of your home:

  • Use unscented lotions and laundry detergents.
  • Use cleaning supplies without scents.
  • Use glass, stainless steel, ceramic, or wood to hold and store foods.
  • Buy fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables instead of canned and processed versions.
  • Avoid air fresheners and all plastics labeled as No. 3, No. 6, and No. 7.
  • Avoid microwaving and machine dishwashing plastics.
Share this: