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Concept: Personal care


The obstetrics-gynecology community has issued a call to action to prevent toxic environmental chemical exposures and their threats to healthy human reproduction. Recent committee opinions recognize that vulnerable and underserved women may be impacted disproportionately by environmental chemical exposures and recommend that reproductive health professionals champion policies that secure environmental justice. Beauty product use is an understudied source of environmental chemical exposures. Beauty products can include reproductive and developmental toxicants such as phthalates and heavy metals; however, disclosure requirements are limited and inconsistent. Compared with white women, women of color have higher levels of beauty product-related environmental chemicals in their bodies, independent of socioeconomic status. Even small exposures to toxic chemicals during critical periods of development (such as pregnancy) can trigger adverse health consequences (such as impacts on fertility and pregnancy, neurodevelopment, and cancer). In this commentary, we seek to highlight the connections between environmental justice and beauty product-related chemical exposures. We describe racial/ethnic differences in beauty product use (such as skin lighteners, hair straighteners, and feminine hygiene products) and the potential chemical exposures and health risks that are associated with these products. We also discuss how targeted advertising can take advantage of mainstream beauty norms to influence the use of these products. Reproductive health professionals can use this information to advance environmental justice by being prepared to counsel patients who have questions about toxic environmental exposures from beauty care products and other sources. Researchers and healthcare providers can also promote health-protective policies such as improved ingredient testing and disclosure for the beauty product industry. Future clinical and public health research should consider beauty product use as a factor that may shape health inequities in women’s reproductive health across the life course.

Concepts: Health care, Health, Human, Sociology, Cosmetics, Hygiene, Personal care, Feminine hygiene


Personal care products are a source of exposure to potentially endocrine disrupting chemicals such as phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and benzophenone-3 (BP-3) for adolescent girls.

Concepts: Xenoestrogen, Cosmetics, Phenols, Endocrine disruptor, Personal care, Paraben, Phenol, Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate


The potential presence of pharmaceuticals, hormones and personal care products in drinking water supplies has raised concerned over the efficiency with which these substances are removed by water treatment processes. In this work, we analyzed samples of raw, unprocessed water collected in different periods and found them to contain higher levels of these contaminants in the colder periods (viz. 12-314ngL(-1) in autumn and winter as compared to 8-127ngL(-1) in spring and summer) as a result of their biodegradation being favoured by high temperatures and solar irradiance. We also assessed the efficiency with which these contaminants are removed from drinking water by a water treatment plant operating in south-eastern Spain. Preoxidation with potassium permanganate and chloramination with sodium hypochlorite in the presence of highly concentrated ammonia were found to be the treatment steps most markedly contributing to the removal of pharmaceuticals, hormones and personal care products from drinking water (especially in the warmer periods, where these contaminants were completely removed from the water). By contrast, water treated in the colder periods (autumn and winter) still contained small amounts of ibuprofen and carbamazepine (0.09-0.5ngL(-1)) which, however, accounted for less than 0.2% of their original concentrations in the water prior to treatment.

Concepts: Water, Water pollution, Season, Personal care, Water treatment


Methylisothiazolinone (MI), a preservative that is commonly used in personal care products, is now recognized as an important contact allergen in both cosmetic and occupational settings.

Concepts: Immune system, Allergen, Cosmetics, Perfume, Food allergy, Personal care


Decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5) is a cyclic volatile methyl siloxane (cVMS) that is widely used in consumer products and commonly observed in urban air. This study quantifies the ambient mixing ratios of D5 from ground sites in two North American cities (Boulder, CO, USA and Toronto, ON, CA). From these data, we estimate the diurnal emission profile of D5 in Boulder, CO. Ambient mixing ratios were consistent with those measured at other urban locations; however, the diurnal pattern exhibited similarities with those of traffic-related compounds such as benzene. Mobile measurements and vehicle experiments demonstrate that emissions of D5 from personal care products are coincident in time and place with emissions of benzene from motor vehicles. During peak commuter times, the D5/benzene ratio (wt/wt) is in excess of 0.3, suggesting that the mass emission rate of D5 from personal care product usage is comparable to that of benzene due to traffic. The diurnal emission pattern of D5 is estimated using the measured D5/benzene ratio and inventory estimates of benzene emission rates in Boulder. The hourly D5 emission rate is observed to peak between 6:00 – 7:00 AM and subsequently follow an exponential decay with a time constant of 9.2 hr. This profile could be used by models to constrain temporal emission patterns of personal care products.

Concepts: Radioactive decay, Personal care, Exponential decay


Many personal care products include chemicals that might act as endocrine disruptors and thus increase the risk of breast cancer.

Concepts: Cancer, Breast cancer, Black people, Endocrine disruptor, Personal care


The bioaccumulation of a broad range of pharmaceuticals and personal care product chemicals (PPCPs) was studied in Cootes Paradise Marsh (CPM), an urban wetland that receives tertiary treated municipal waste waters as well as urban storm runoff. We measured PPCPs in caged and wild goldfish, as well as wild carp, and compared observed bioaccumulation factors (BAFP) using concentrations in surface waters and fish blood plasma, with modeled BAFs. Thirty-two PPCPs were detected in water from the central CPM site (CPM3) while 64 PPCPs were found at higher concentrations at a site immediately downstream of the effluent outflow (CPM1). Following a 3-week deployment, 15 PPCPs were detected in the plasma of caged goldfish at CPM1, and 14 at CPM3, compared to only 3 in goldfish caged at a reference site. The highest BAFP in goldfish were for the antidepressant Σfluoxetine averaging 386 L/kg in caged and 906 L/kg in wild goldfish, respectively. In carp, ΣDiazepam (diazepam and oxazepam) had the highest BAFP (927 L/kg). This study identified a broader range of PPCPs in fish and surface waters than previously reported. However, modeled BAFs did not show good agreement with observed whole body or plasma BAFs, demonstrating that more work is needed to better explain bioaccumulation of PPCPs.

Concepts: Blood, Water, Chemistry, Water pollution, Goldfish, Fishkeeping, Actinopterygii, Personal care


The prevalence of microplastics (<5 mm) in natural environments has become a widely recognised global problem. Microplastics have been shown to sorb chemical pollutants from their surrounding environment, thus raising concern as to their role in the movement of these pollutants through the food chain. This experiment investigated whether organic pollutants sorbed to microbeads (MBs) from personal care products were assimilated by fish following particle ingestion. Rainbow fish (Melanotaenia fluviatilis) were exposed to MBs with sorbed PBDEs (BDE-28, -47, -100, -99, -153, -154, -183 200 ng g-1; BDE-209 2000 ng g-1) and sampled at 0, 21, 42 and 63 days along with two control treatments (Food Only and Food + Clean MBs). Exposed fish had significantly higher ∑8PBDE concentrations than both control treatments after just 21 days, and continued exposure resulted in increased accumulation of the pollutants over the experiment (ca. 115 pg g-1 ww d-1). Lower brominated congeners showed highest assimilation whereas higher brominated congeners did not appear to transfer, indicating they may be too strongly sorbed to the plastic or unable to be assimilated by the fish due to large molecular size or other factors. Seemingly against this trend, however, BDE-99 did not appear to bioaccumulate in the fish, which may be due to partitioning from the MBs or that it was metabolised in vivo. This work provides evidence that MBs from personal care products are capable of transferring sorbed pollutants to fish that ingest them.

Concepts: Molecule, Eating, Ingestion, Coprophagia, Natural environment, Chemistry, Hygiene, Personal care


Mineral oils and waxes used in cosmetic products, also referred to as “personal care products” outside the European Union, are mixtures of predominantly saturated hydrocarbons consisting of straight-chain, branched and ring structures with carbon chain lengths greater than C16. They are used in skin and lip care cosmetic products due to their excellent skin tolerance as well as their high protecting and cleansing performance and broad viscosity options. Recently, concerns have been raised regarding potential adverse health effects of mineral oils and waxes from dermal application of cosmetics. In order to be able to assess the risk for the consumer the dermal penetration potential of these ingredients has to be evaluated. The scope and objective of this review is to identify and summarize publicly available literature on the dermal penetration of mineral oils and waxes as used in cosmetic products. For this purpose, a comprehensive literature search was conducted. A total of 13 in vivo (human, animal) and in vitro studies investigating the dermal penetration of mineral oils and waxes has been identified and analysed. The majority of the substances were dermally adsorbed to the stratum corneum and only a minor fraction reached deeper skin layers. Overall, there is no evidence from the various studies that mineral oils and waxes are percutaneously absorbed and become systemically available. Thus, given the absence of dermal uptake, mineral oils and waxes as used in cosmetic products do not present a risk to the health of the consumer.

Concepts: Petroleum, Carbon, Skin, In vitro, Hydrocarbon, Wax, Cosmetics, Personal care


Active-sampling approaches are commonly used for personal monitoring, but are limited by energy usage and data that may not represent an individual’s exposure or bioavailable concentrations. Current passive techniques often involve extensive preparation, or are developed for only a small number of targeted compounds. In this work, we present a novel application for measuring bioavailable exposure with silicone wristbands as personal passive samplers. Laboratory methodology affecting precleaning, infusion, and extraction were developed from commercially available silicone, and chromatographic background interference was reduced after solvent cleanup with good extraction efficiency (>96%). After finalizing laboratory methods, 49 compounds were sequestered during an ambient deployment which encompassed a diverse set of compounds including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), consumer products, personal care products, pesticides, phthalates, and other industrial compounds ranging in log Kow from -0.07 (caffeine) to 9.49 (tris(2-ethylhexyl) phosphate). In two hot asphalt occupational settings, silicone personal samplers sequestered 25 PAHs during 8- and 40-h exposures, as well as 2 oxygenated-PAHs (benzofluorenone and fluorenone) suggesting temporal sensitivity over a single work day or week (p < 0.05, power =0.85). Additionally, the amount of PAH sequestered differed between worksites (p < 0.05, power = 0.99), suggesting spatial sensitivity using this novel application.

Concepts: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, Benzene, Hydrocarbon, Aromatic hydrocarbon, Personal care, Aromaticity, Naphthalene, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons