Preservatives in our personal care products during pregnancy. Is it a concern?

Investigators at SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn suggested that some personal care ingredients  such as butyl paraben affected birth weight and risk of preterm birth. Another ingredient triclosan affected risk of preterm birth. The lead investigator did state that a larger study was needed. This information was on SUNY Downstate’s webpage and published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials 

Dr Greer, the lead investigator stated, “Our study provides further evidence of the importance of assessing the risks of having these additional chemicals in our consumer products.  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.”

What is triclosan?

Triclosan is added to products to reduce bacteria growth

Facts about triclosan

  • Triclosan has been banned in other countries.
  • Minnesota plans on banning the use of triclosan in sanitizing or hand and body cleaning products starting in 2017.
  • The FDA is currently studying triclosan in personal care products.

What does FDA say about triclosan

According to the FDA “Trisclosan is not currently known to be hazardous to humans. But several scientific studies have come out since the last time FDA reviewed this ingredient that merit further review.” and “In light of these studies, FDA is engaged in an ongoing scientific and regulatory review of this ingredient. FDA does not have sufficient safety evidence to recommend changing consumer use of products that contain triclosan at this time.”

Triclosan and animal studies

“Animal studies have shown that triclosan alters hormone regulation. However, data showing effects in animals don’t always predict effects in humans.” source FDA

Triclosan may increase bacterial resistance

“Other studies in bacteria have raised the possibility that triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics.” source FDA

What is butyl paraben?

Butyl paraben is used as a preservative in personal care products

What does the FDA say about butyl paraben

  • “The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) reviewed the safety of methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben in 1984 and concluded they were safe for use in cosmetic products at levels up to 25%. Typically parabens are used at levels ranging from 0.01 to 0.3%.”
  • “the agency will continue to evaluate new data in this area. If FDA determines that a health hazard exists, the agency will advise the industry and the public, and will consider its legal options under the authority of the FD&C Act in protecting the health and welfare of consumers.”

What do other countries say about butyl paraben?

Some of the European literature supports that it is an endocrine disruptor.


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