Matt Perzanowski, an associate professor of environmental health science at Columbia University in New York City, said the study will help to raise awareness about how little consumers may know about what's in products they use everyday.
"They're identifying exposures to chemicals that a consumer wouldn't be able to identify, and also showing there is a broad spectrum of these exposures to these chemicals that people use," Perzanowski said.
He noted, however, that research on chemicals and their link to health problems is not conclusive. Most of the studies have been observational, meaning researchers have found associations between certain exposures and health effects, but have not proven causality.
Of all of the chemicals, the association between BPA and endocrine disruption seems to be the strongest, Perzanowski added.
Because of the ubiquity of the consumer products and the chemicals, it's difficult to try to stay away from them, Dodson said. But Silent Spring offers some tips, including:
- choosing products that are plant-based,
- using water, baking soda and vinegar for cleaning,
- wearing hats and cover-ups instead of relying only on sunscreen for sun protection,
- steering clear of cleaning and other products that contain fragrance,
- avoiding vinyl pillow and mattress protectors,
- choosing lotions, deodorants and shampoos that are paraben-free.
Antimicrobial soaps also contain chemicals such as triclosan and triclocarban, which are also chemicals of concern regarding asthma and endocrine disruption, Dodson noted.
To see the list of products tested, visit the Silent Spring Institute.
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