HealthDay News — Multiple chemicals associated with endocrine disruption and asthma are contained in hair products used by black women and children, according to a study published online April 25 in Environmental Research.

Jessica S. Helm, Ph.D., from the Silent Spring Institute in Newton, Mass., and colleagues used gas chromatography/mass spectrometry to test 18 hair products in six categories (hot oil treatment, anti-frizz/polish, leave-in conditioner, root stimulator, hair lotion, and relaxer) used by black women in a preliminary study. The authors tested hair products for 66 chemicals belonging to 10 chemical classes.

The researchers identified 45 endocrine disrupting or asthma-associated chemicals in the hair products, which included every targeted chemical class. Cyclosiloxanes, parabens, and the fragrance marker diethyl phthalate (DEP) were found at the highest levels, with DEP found most frequently. Nonylphenols, parabens, and fragrances were frequently identified in root stimulators, hair lotions, and relaxers, while anti-frizz products contained cyclosiloxanes. Five chemicals regulated by California’s Proposition 65 or prohibited by European Union cosmetics regulation were contained in hair relaxers for children. The product label generally did not list targeted chemicals.

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“These results indicate the need for more information about the contribution of consumer products to exposure disparities,” the authors write. “A precautionary approach would reduce the use of endocrine disrupting chemicals in personal care products and improve labeling so women can select products consistent with their values.”

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