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Chemical Analysis of Household and Personal Care Products for Endocrine Disrupting Compounds and Other Chemicals of Emerging Concern

Dodson, Robin1; Nishioka, Marcia2; Standley, Laurel1; Perovich, Laura1; Brody, Julia1; Rudel, Ruthann1

doi: 10.1097/01.ede.0000392438.95492.34
Abstracts: ISEE 22nd Annual Conference, Seoul, Korea, 28 August–1 September 2010: Chemicals and Environmental Health Issues (eg, Endocrine Disruptors or Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals)

1Silent Spring Institute, Newton, MA; and 2Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, OH.

Abstracts published in Epidemiology have been reviewed by the societies at whose meetings the abstracts have been accepted for presentation. These abstracts have not undergone review by the Editorial Board of Epidemiology.


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Concern about exposure to endocrine disrupting compounds from use of commercial household and personal care products is growing, but limited labeling or testing information is available to evaluate products as exposure sources or inform exposure reduction efforts.

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In this study we tested 214 products, including some advertised as “nontoxic” or “natural,” for 66 chemicals. Targeted compounds included parabens, phthalates, bisphenol A, triclosan, ethanolamines, alkylphenols, fragrance compounds, glycol ethers, cyclosiloxanes, and ultra-violet filters. We tested soaps, detergents, and other cleaners; makeup; shampoo and other hair products; lotions; diapers; sunscreen; and shower curtains. First, we developed criteria to guide selection of “alternative” products—products expected to be without the targeted chemicals. For comparison, we selected products not meeting the criteria, defined as conventional products and selected, in part, based on market share. To minimize analytical costs, 2 of 7 conventional products were composited within a product type (eg, bar soap) and analyzed as one analytical sample. Each alternative product was analyzed independently to identify specific products without target compounds. A total of 86 product samples were tested.

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Results indicate widespread exposure to a range of endocrine disrupting compounds and other chemicals of concern from consumer products. All conventional samples had at least one detected compound; 11 alternative products contained no detectable amounts of targeted compounds. The average number of detected compounds in conventional products was up to 8.7 (uncertainty due to composite sampling) and in alternative products was 2.9. The most frequently detected compounds in conventional samples were 8 fragrance compounds followed by bisphenol A. Further analysis was conducted to determine whether products without chemicals of concern could be identified from product labels. As expected, few compounds (eg, parabens and antimicrobials) were consistently and clearly labeled, emphasizing that current regulations provide inadequate information on product composition.

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Findings will be used to design evidence-based exposure reduction strategies.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.