Quantcast

Chemicals in Cosmetics Linked to Lung Damage in Children, New Study Finds

Health + Wellness
GeorgeRudy / iStock / Getty Images

Children exposed to chemicals commonly found in personal care products may be at a higher risk of suffering from lung damage later in life, according to a new European study.


The longitudinal study published in The Lancet Planetary Health journal, conducted by a team of European scientists, found that babies exposed in utero and shortly after birth to three classes of chemicals—phthalates, parabens and the fluorinated compounds known as PFAS—had diminished lung function at six and 12 years of age.

The team used data from more than 1,000 pairs of mothers and children in France, Greece, Lithuania, Norway, Spain and the U.K. It's believed to be the first study to look at the effect on children's lung function of exposure to chemicals before or after birth.

Although the chemicals cited in the study have multiple uses, all three classes are found in cosmetics and other personal care products.

"This study provides even more evidence that it's time to finally regulate the chemicals in cosmetics," said the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Scott Faber. "As if increasing the risk of cancer and infertility were not enough for Congress to act, now we can add lung damage in kids to the list of harms caused by these everyday products."

Parabens are chemical preservatives widely used in cosmetics and have been linked to other health problems, including breast cancer. Parabens were found in one-fifth of the products in EWG's Skin Deep® cosmetics database, which analyzes ingredients in more than 70,000 products.

PFAS chemicals have been linked to serious health effects, including cancer, thyroid disease and liver problems. EWG researchers recently scoured the Skin Deep database and found PFAS chemicals in 66 different products from 15 brands.

Phthalates are industrial compounds used in fragrance mixtures and in body care products. They're potent hormone disruptors that can alter the reproductive development of male infants and are associated with sperm damage in adult men.

It's been more than 80 years since Congress last voted on cosmetics law, a delay that means companies are still allowed to add chemicals linked to cancer and other health harms to personal care products. Many cosmetics companies large and small, and public health organizations, agree that the badly outdated cosmetics law must be updated to give the Food and Drug Administration the power to review worrisome ingredients and the tools necessary to oversee the personal care products industry.

Legislation introduced in the last Congress by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), and by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the power to review controversial chemicals.

"We've never been closer to ensuring that cosmetics and other personal care products are safe," Faber said.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

JPM / Getty Images

Gluten is the collective name for a group of proteins found in grains like wheat, barley and rye.

Read More Show Less
Denali national park. Domen Jakus / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

By Stephanie Gagnon

Happy National Parks Week! This year, between April 20 and 28, escape to the beautiful national parks — either in person or in your imagination — and celebrate the amazing wildlife that calls these spaces home.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
fstop123 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

At EcoWatch, our team knows that changing personal habits and taking actions that contribute to a better planet is an ongoing journey. Earth Day, happening on April 22, is a great reminder for all of us to learn more about the environmental costs of our behaviors like food waste or fast fashion.

To offer readers some inspiration this Earth Day, our team rounded up their top picks for films to watch. So, sit back and take in one of these documentary films this Earth Day. Maybe it will spark a small change you can make in your own life.

Read More Show Less
Sesame, three months old, at Seal Rescue Irleand. Screenshot / Seal Rescue Ireland Instagram

On Friday, Seal Rescue Ireland released Sesame the seal into the ocean after five months of rehabilitation at the Seal Rescue Ireland facility. Watch the release on EcoWatch's Facebook.

Read More Show Less
Beer packs of Guinness will now come in a cardboard box. Diageo

By Jordan Davidson

Guinness is joining the fight against single use plastic. The brewer has seen enough hapless turtles and marine life suffering from the scourge of plastic.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Maskot / Getty Images

People of all ages are spending more of their day looking at their phones, computers and television screens, but parents now have another reason for limiting how much screen time their children get — it could lead to behavioral problems.

Read More Show Less

Rapper and comedian Lil Dicky released a 7-minute climate change awareness song and video today, ahead of Earth Day on Monday, with proceeds going to the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Eoin Higgins

The New York City Council passed the world's "largest single carbon reduction effort that any city, anywhere, has ever put forward" on Thursday afternoon, marking a major milestone in the fight against the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less