Researchers suggest that women should reduce the use of “leave on” phthalate-containing personal care products, eg skin toner, lipstick, body lotion, essential oils, during pregnancy

In January 2019 researchers from Taiwan published the results of their study to assess the association between the use of personal care products and urinary levels of phthalates in 281 pregnant women. Information on personal care product usage was collected via structured questionnaires during the third trimester of pregnancy. Urine samples were collected at each trimester and the concentration of 11 different types of phthalates measured. The association between personal care product use and phthalates was then assessed. Results showed that a higher use of skin toner, lipstick and essential oils resulted in a higher concentration of urinary mono-etheyl phthalate. In addition the higher the use of body lotions and shampoos, the higher the concentration of urinary mono-benzyl phthalate. However, there did not appear to be any association between face wash and the level of mono-methyl phthalate. The researchers concluded by suggesting that women should reduce the use of “leave-on” personal care products during pregnancy so as to avoid such a high phthalate exposure.

Hsieh CJ et al. Personal care products use and phthalate exposure levels among pregnant women Sci Total Environ. 2019 Jan;648:135-143.

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