The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

EWG Public Affairs, (202) 667-6982

Hormone-Altering Cosmetics Chemicals Found in Teenage Girls

Many Chemicals Detected linked to Serious Health Problems


girls across America are contaminated with hormone-altering chemicals
found in cosmetics and body care products, confirms a new study
released today by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

The first-of-its kind study
found 16 toxic chemicals in blood and urine samples from 20 teenage
girls from eight states and the District of Columbia, aged 14-19,
including preservatives, fragrance and antimicrobial compounds. Many of
these are linked to serious health risks in lab animals, even at
low-dose levels.

"Hormone-altering chemicals shouldn't be in cosmetics, especially in
products used by millions of teenage girls," said Rebecca Sutton, Ph.D,
author of the report and Staff Scientist at EWG. "Their bodies are
still developing and may be especially vulnerable to risks from these
exposures," added Sutton.

The young women participating in this study were recruited from
locations across the U.S. and represent diverse ethnic and cultural
backgrounds. They used an average of nearly 17 personal care products
per day that contain a total of 174 unique cosmetic ingredients.

The study provides the first data available from teens on levels of
synthetic chemical musks, common fragrance ingredients that accumulate
in people and act like estrogen in the body, and preservatives called
parabens that also mimic estrogen.

"The Teen Body Burden Study is proof that something needs to be done.
My results serve as permanent motivation to fight the chemical battle
and win," said Jessica Assaf, one of the teens tested.
Federal health statutes do not require companies to test products or
ingredients for safety before they are sold. As a result, nearly all
body care products contain ingredients that have not been assessed for
safety by any federal agency, and are not required to meet any uniform
safety standards.

"Most parents don't know that the eyeliner, lipstick or shampoo they
allow their daughters to use probably contains at least one chemical
linked to a number of serious health concerns," said Sutton. "Teenage
girls are at a particularly vulnerable age and these exposures could
trigger a subtle sequence of damaging effects that leads to health
problems later in life."

Teenagers and their parents can consult EWG's Skin Deep online database to help them make informed decisions about their products.

The Environmental Working Group is a community 30 million strong, working to protect our environmental health by changing industry standards.

(202) 667-6982