Study: reduce chemicals by switching cosmetics


SAMMAMISH, Wash. -- Whether you're buying shampoo, lotion or makeup, you probably choose products based on what they promise to do when you use them. A new study might have you thinking longer term, especially when it comes to products for teenage girls.

At 15-years old, Josie Harbottle doesn't wear a lot of makeup, but like most teen girls, she has a wealth of personal care products.

"That's my sunscreen. I have different facial scrubs. Body lotion and more body lotion," she said.

Add in some foundation, and she's layering several products onto her skin.

Some labels tout that they are free of chemicals.

"If it says that it's always like a bonus," Josie said. "It's like oh, it's better for me but I don't know what any of that means, so I don't really know how much better it is."

Researchers don't really know either. Makeup isn't strictly regulated. But chemicals like parabens and phalates are associated with health issues from cancer to obesity. Pediatricians recommend caution, reducing exposure when possible.

"In general we're worried about children being exposed to chemicals because they're going through really significant developmental time period. Early childhood is one, but then puberty is another one because their hormones are really changing at that time," said Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana of the Seattle Children's Research Institute. "So what they're exposed to can really matter."

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley switched 100 teenage girls to chemical free products, and within three days, there was a significant drop in the chemical levels in their bodies.

That has Josie's mom rethinking what they buy.

"Now that I'm thinking about it, I read all my food labels. I should probably read more of those kind of product labels as well," said Vicki Harbottle.

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