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Study shows racial differences in personal care product use, may lead to health inequities

Findings could explain why women of color in particular are more highly exposed to harmful chemicals

2021-05-18
(Press-News.org) A large survey of women in California shows significant racial and ethnic differences in the types of personal care products women use on a daily basis. Because many personal care products contain endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) like parabens and phthalates that interfere with the body's hormones, the findings could shed light on how different products influence women's exposures to harmful chemicals that contribute to health inequities.

The study appears in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology as part of a special issue focused on health equity.

"We know Black women have higher levels of many EDCs in their bodies than other groups of women," says lead author Dr. Robin Dodson, an environmental exposure scientist at Silent Spring Institute. "What we don't know is what's driving these exposures, and therefore what's driving some of the health disparities we see in the U.S. population."

The new study aims to fill that gap by providing one of the first comprehensive inventories of the range and types of products women use across race and ethnicity.

Black women go through puberty at younger ages, and have higher rates of hormone-mediated problems such as pre-term birth, uterine fibroids, and infertility than other groups of women. Incidence rates of breast cancer and endometrial cancer among Black women are also increasing.

Given evidence linking exposure to EDCs with harmful health effects such as reproductive problems and cancer, and the lack of data on the kinds of products women of color use, researchers decided to partner with community groups in California to survey a diverse group of women.

The survey is part of a larger effort called the END


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[Press-News.org] Study shows racial differences in personal care product use, may lead to health inequities
Findings could explain why women of color in particular are more highly exposed to harmful chemicals