Posts tagged with "Makeup"

Revealed: Deadly superbugs lurk in more than nine out of ten make-up bags

December 4, 2019

It turns out that looks can, indeed, kill: The vast majority of in-use makeup products—among them,  beauty blenders, mascara, and lip gloss—are contaminated with potentially life threatening superbugs, research conducted at Aston University in Birmingham, England, has revealed..

Make-up products used every day by millions of people are contaminated with potentially deadly bugs, such as E.coli and Staphylococci, because most are not being cleaned and are used far beyond their expiration dates, new research led by Dr. Amreen Bashir and Professor Peter Lambert of Aston University’s School of Life and Health Sciences has found.

Bacteria that can cause illnesses ranging from skin infections to blood poisoning if used near eyes, mouth, or cuts or grazes, were found in nine out of ten of the products. This risk is amplified in immunocompromised people who are more likely to contract infections from opportunistic bacteria.

The relatively new beauty blenders — sponges used to apply skin foundation products—were found to have the highest levels of potentially harmful bacteria; with the vast majority (93%) never having been cleaned, despite more than two-thirds (64%) being dropped on the floor at some point during use.

.Often endorsed by celebrities, these sponges are estimated to have sold over 6.5 million times worldwide. The Aston researchers found these products are particularly susceptible to contamination as they are often left damp after use, which creates an ideal breeding ground for harmful bacteria.

Post-Brexit, UK consumers could be at even greater risk as they will no longer be protected by EU regulations and could find themselves purchasing more beauty products from the United States, for example, where there are no regulatory requirements to put expiration dates on make-up packaging at all.

Commenting on the new findings, Dr. Bashir said: “Consumers’ poor hygiene practices when it comes to using make-up, especially beauty blenders, is very worrying when you consider that we found bacteria such as E.coli—which is linked with fecal contamination—breeding on the products we tested.

“More needs to be done to help educate consumers and the make-up industry as a whole about the need to wash beauty blenders regularly and dry them thoroughly, as well as the risks of using makeup beyond its expiry date.”

The study results have been published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology .

Research contact: @AstonUniversity

NOAA: Pollution from personal care products is comparable to tailpipe emissions in Boulder

August 26, 2019

Motor vehicles have long been recognized as a dominant source of pollution. But a new study led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that—during the morning rush hour in Boulder, Colorado—the trail of chemical vapors emitted by commuters who have applied a variety of personal care products to their skin and hair is comparable in magnitude to the  emissions of major components of vehicle exhaust.

People, it turns out, are a major source of pollution too, NOAA has found.

“We detected a pattern of emissions that coincides with human activity,” said lead author Matthew Coggon, a CIRES scientist working at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory. “People apply these products in the morning, leave their homes, and drive to work or school. We see emissions spike in the morning and show a lower peak again at the end of the day.”

The  study findings, published in the journal, Environmental Science and Technology, confirms other recent findings, which demonstrate that chemical emissions from personal care products can contribute significantly to urban air pollution.

Among the chief culprits: D5 Siloxane, short for decamethylcyclopentasiloxane, a common ingredient added to shampoos, lotions, and other personal care products to give them a smooth, silky feeling.

Siloxane belongs to a class of chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are designed to evaporate. Once released into the atmosphere, NOAA says, sunlight can catalyze reactions between VOCs, nitrogen oxides, and other compounds to form ozone and particulate matter—two types of pollution that are regulated because of their effects on air quality and human health.

Coggon and his colleagues measured VOCs from the roof of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in December 2015 and January 2017—and from a mobile laboratory driving around  Boulder during rush hour in February, 2016. They sampled everything they could, including compounds such as benzene, which are known markers of vehicle exhaust.

“We were surveying the air, monitoring every chemical compound our instrument was sensitive to—about 150 compounds,” said Coggon. From that soup of chemicals, one compound in particular caught their attention. “We found a big peak in the data but we didn’t know what it was,” he said.

Based on the measurements, Patrick Veres, a NOAA scientist and co-author on the paper, suggested the suspect might be a chemical known as D5 siloxane, a refined petroleum product he recognized from another research project. When Coggon’s team saw that siloxane levels appeared to rise and fall throughout the day in step with measurements of  benzene emissions from traffic, they initially theorized siloxane was a component of vehicle exhaust. But when they tested tailpipe emissions directly and took roadside measurement, siloxane was absent.

Siloxane and benzene weren’t coming from the same source, but Coggon and his colleagues recognized that the chemicals were linked with a particular human behavior: Commuting.

By studying their data hour-by-hour, they realized siloxane emissions peaked in the morning, when people put on personal care products and went outside into their cars or buses. That’s when benzene emissions went up too. Emissions of both chemicals decreased during the day, then peaked again during the evening commute. The evening peak of siloxane emissions was lower than in the morning, because, they theorized, the personal care products had largely evaporated throughout the day.

The findings support an emerging body of research into the role of consumer and industrial products as  sources of urban air pollution.

The research team is looking at other chemicals in personal care products that may also spike in the morning, as people commute. “We all have a personal plume, from our cars and our personal care products,” said Coggon.

Research contact: @NOAAResearch

Skin deep: Chemicals in cosmetics alter women’s hormone levels

September 17, 2018

It’s time to face up to the facts: The cosmetics and creams women use every day may cover their flaws and accentuate their best features, but they also can pose a critical risk. New research has established that chemicals found in many beauty products are linked to changes in hormones.

Indeed, the new research results—published in Environment International by Assistant Professor of Global and Community Health Anna Pollack, Ph.D., and colleagues at Fairfax, Virginia-based George Mason University—discovered links between chemicals that are widely used in cosmetic and personal care products and changes in reproductive hormones that can lead to serious conditions, including breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. .

For their study, the authors collected 509 urine samples from 143 healthy women between ages of 18 and 44. Participants did use birth control and had no prior history of any chronic ailments. Urine was analyzed for environmental chemicals commonly found in cosmetic and personal care products.

The authors found numerous adverse effects on reproductive hormones when these chemicals were present—especially parabens (antimicrobial preservatives) and benzophenones (ultraviolet filters). They say that even low levels of exposure to mixtures of chemicals can alter levels of hormones.

“We have early indicators that chemicals such as parabens may increase estrogen levels,” says Pollack, in a university press release. “If this finding is confirmed by additional research, it could have implications for estrogen dependent diseases such as breast cancer.”

This study is the first to examine mixtures of chemicals that are widely used in personal care products in relation to hormones in healthy, reproductive-age women, using multiple measures of exposure across the menstrual cycle, which improved upon research that relied on one or two measures of chemicals,” Pollack noted.

This multi-chemical approach more closely reflects real-world environmental exposures and shows that even low-level exposure to mixtures of chemicals may affect reproductive hormone levels. Another noteworthy finding of the study is that certain chemical and UV filters were associated with decreased reproductive hormones in multi-chemical exposures while others were associated with increases in other reproductive hormones, underscoring the complexities of these chemicals.

“What we should take away from this study is that we may need to be careful about the chemicals in the beauty and personal care products we use,” explains Pollack. “We have early indicators that chemicals such as parabens may increase estrogen levels. If this finding is confirmed by additional research, it could have implications for estrogen dependent diseases such as breast cancer.”

Research contact: apollac2@gmu.edu