A new study reveals that teenage girls who switched cosmetics for three days showed drops in chemical levels in their bodies. Researchers from UC Berkeley and Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas found that when girls switched cosmetics, shampoos and lotions that had “hormone disruptors” to those that did not, they had a 25-45 percent drop in their chemical levels. The study looked at chemicals like phthalates and parabens, which are found in nail polish and makeup.

Switching Cosmetics Dramatically Lowers Chemical Levels for Teens 14 March,2016forum

Kim Harley, associate director for health effects at UC Berkeley's Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health
Maritza Cardenas, UC Berkeley undergraduate and study participant/author
Nneka Leiba, deputy director of research at Environmental Working Group

  • Han Sulu

    I agree that girls are unknowingly poisoning themselves with toxic chemicals. What about television presenters? What about TV and film actors? These are unionized workers who are required to use cosmetics extensively on a daily basis. You’d think these groups of people would have even more toxic chemicals in their bodies. What their unions doing about the issue?

    If we’re talking about teenage girls, I occasionally see girls stashing their phones in their bras, and holding them down near their ovaries while texting. Why hasn’t anyone told them this can cause DNA damage and cancer? Radiation from phones can be ionizing depending on the substance affected. It does more than heat you. Cellular and Wifi signals can damage mitochondria in their eggs and that can affect future generations.


    Stick with just good old plain soap ,and use nothing else ,our skin is porous and absorbs all chemicals that applied to it and gets in our blood…..Natural beauty is the best.

    • Robert Thomas

      Are you aware of the hideous effects on human tissues of carbolic acid?

    • Killer

      good old soap has lots of junk in it too – use EWG’s Skin Deep app to check on your soap and products.

    • WBryanH

      Eidalm, there’s a movement to go shampoo-less and even soap-less. In 2013 I stopped shampoo and and few months later minimized soap, not using it at all in the shower and minimal amounts just to cut grease on dishes and simply rinse the rest. It took 6 weeks for my hair to return to its normal silky feel and it’s been fine after that. And my partner has had no complaints 🙂

      • alltruthbrandon

        u ain’t washed yo ass with soap since 2013? Oh no!!

      • alltruthbrandon

        u have had “no complaints”? Maybe that’s cuz they are being polite. U know u need to bathe yo self!

    • PegasusWing

      Dove soap and shampoo works for me.
      Wisk or Sunshine laundry detergent also is good.
      White vinegar makes a good rinse. It takes out the soap film and makes the hair shine.

      • EIDALM

        Quite nice.and healthy


    Near all make up we have today from mascara,lipstick ,rouge ,to eye shadow and face and body lotion was invented by the ancient Egyptians several thousands years ago ,but they used natural materials from plants ,trees ,and animals ,and nontoxic chemicals like salt and iron oxide.

    • berkeleyborn

      Ancient makeup was full of lead and soot. I am sure soot would not be allowed in todays cosmetics, as it is probably a potential carcinogen as is listed coffee on the Prop. 65 list. It seems like the lead may have helped prevent eye infections.

      Iron Oxides are most likely made synthetically now, so the impurities can be controlled.

  • And

    Why does the FDA continue to allow poison in our food and other consumer products? Maybe we don’t need to try to find a cure for Cancer, MS, ALS, Alzheimer’s and other rampant diseases, but eliminate the causes.

    • WBryanH

      “And,” couldn’t agree with you more. We are exposed to a huge amount of novel chemistry in our environment. The chem industry created over 100k new compounds since 1945, and lots of them are rife in the enviro, like those four classes they’re talking about today. We should subtract from our systems, not add. Less is more.

    • berkeleyborn

      I agree that there are many toxins in our environment, but cancer pre-dates modern formulary.

      • And

        There have always been carcinogens throughout history. The difference now is that humans are manufacturing new carcinogenic compounds in abundance.

        • berkeleyborn

          I don’t disagree, but your original comment implies that these diseases are caused by newly created carcinogenic compounds, when in fact they have been around a long time and the causes and cures are very complex.

  • Livegreen

    What’s in nail polish & nail polish remover? Whenever my wife is putting it on I ask her how come she breathes in the fumes & what it does to her body…

  • Gay Timmons

    Please ask Dr. Harley what further work is planned to validate this study?

  • Liz

    This is why I love my ThinkDirty app that clearly tells me exactly what I’m putting on my skin and on my family.

  • Robert Thomas

    What’s not “organic” about methylparaben?

    How dangerous is the human consumption of the horrifically complex natural pest control contained in the “organic” chemistry of the nightshade plants ubiquitously consumed by humans only in the last several centuries?

    What is the effect on human metabolism of the highly reactive carbolic acid in the simplest phenol-based soaps?

    How is this not an exercise in the increasingly encountered chemophobia that plagues a society where high school chemistry is available to all, yet only engaged by a small fraction of the population?

    • WBryanH

      Right. What’s “natural” and “artificial?” Good Q. We might consider compounds that never existed in nature, or in vanishingly small amounts–such as PCBs, dioxins, and CFCs–but which we’ve learned to produce in huge quantities to be “artificial” for lack of a better descriptor at the moment. For other compounds, like the estrogenic compounds eg phthalates and BPA, the level and the frequency of the dose may well make the poison. Just because most people lack even a rudimentary grounding in organic chemistry doesn’t negate this issue which is likely genuine and merits a lot more scrutiny.

      • Robert Thomas

        Have you an idea just how toxic oxygen is, at only slightly elevated vapor pressures? It’s a scandal. I recommend eliminating it from your personal environment.

        If one has a problem with a reaction to some material, as you report here elsewhere, why not stop applying it and take some other action? Most people have little negative experience with common hand soap. I don’t use it on my face because it’s irritating for me to use it that way.

        The implication from the present Forum segment – a wallow in junk science – of evidence that’s neither clear nor convincing mixed into the drab stew of knee-jerk anti-capitalism (evil corporations!) routinely encountered here is that the world of diabolical materials is collapsing in on a species that during the previous two hundred years spent cooking up organic chemistry has nevertheless mostly eliminated infant mortality of the preceding 100,000 years; increased average lifespan to a great fraction of maximal lifespan and populated the planet with seven billion individuals.

        • WBryanH

          RT you say: “Have you an idea just how toxic oxygen is, at only slightly elevated vapor pressures?” Right. Your statement supports what I say in my response above: The dose makes the poison. Eg we get lectins (carb-binding proteins) in almost all foods. Doesn’t mean we should freely ingest certains of them. Like ricin.

          And about the “evil corps” RT, well you’re welcome to believe they have your best interests at heart! For me, I choose a very wary and healthy skepticism.

          • Robert Thomas

            Having grown up with a spreading castorbean tree in the family back yard, I was in fact exposed to a great deal of ricin in my bucolic childhood environment.

            We agree that skepticism is a favorable state.

            Else, here’s what evil capitalism has done to you:

            It has allowed you to NOT have to spend every single waking hour of your life on your knees, scraping the ground for a root to put into your mouth, a life punctuated only by the occasional diversion of having to scrape a larger hole in the ground into which to lay the body of a child recently dead of cholera. This state of affairs describes the preponderant day-to-day experience of homo sapiens for its first several hundred thousand years.

            That’s the perfidious effect evil groups of people associated with one another to conduct commerce has perpetrated upon you, in your life.

          • WBryanH

            Sure RT. Why not make wild assumptions on what “evil capitalism has done to me?” Even though you don’t know me from Adam? Nothing’s stopping you.

            Whatever your statement even means.

            About what you say: “…scrape a larger hole in the ground into which to lay the body of a child recently dead of cholera.” Last I checked, it was an individual, Waldemar Haffkine, not a corp, who developed a cholera vaccine. As for corps producing vaccines, we have to get many of them from the UK and elsewhere in the world, because the US corps don’t find some vaccines, like seasonal flu vaccines, profitable enough to make. US pharma corps vastly prefer chronic diseases like diabetes, cancers, etc, so they can sell their meds to customers year after year for a lifetime. Why bother to develop cures when these meds make such great bread and butter for them?

            RT about what you say here:

            “That’s the perfidious effect evil groups of people associated with one another to conduct commerce has perpetrated upon you, in your life.”

            I’m not even sure what you are trying to say here. Maybe clarify this? You know RT. Only if you want.

          • Robert Thomas

            Capitalism has done the things I mention for you, only of course if you’re a human being living in the developed world.

            Every single bit of manufactured material and machined tool employed by such as Haffkine, Lister and Semmelweis was created and manufactured by individuals doing business of some kind.

  • Killer

    This is so scary- our future….So important to use safe products. Started working for Beautycounter because of this need. Safety, advocacy, education – join the movement if you are interested in this. (PS- IGNORE my discus name – it’s my Crossfit nickname…)

    • Robert Thomas

      So important to take undergraduate chemistry.

  • Jon Latimer

    Can someone please POST the site where we can find the app? I’ve searched to no avail…

  • Gay Timmons

    To the person calling in about ingredients – anyone buying ingredients should request a Certificate of Analysis for the ingredient which shows the date of production and other safety measurements. If they do not know how read a Certificate of Analysis, then they need to hire a chemist and a micro-biologist. These are complex chemicals – even shea butter.

  • Robert Thomas

    This is a nexus wherein the phony-baloney, made-up notion of the intrinsic “wholesomeness” of so-called “organic” materials slams full force into the physical reality of rampant modern crackpottery.

    How many different compounds are in beautifully natural ambergris burped up by our wonderful cetation friends? What are the dastardly effects of the various complex terrines there, ambrein, ambroxan, ambrinol etc.?

    Scientific inquiry is good.

    Drawing conclusions from investigations the results of which that are neither clear nor convincing is ridiculous, paralyzing folly.

    • WBryanH

      “Scientific inquiry.” You mean all that “consensus science” flooding peer-reviewed journals? With conclusions bought and paid for by Monsanto, Big Pharma, and other hugely-moneyed special interests? I point you to this, one of the most downloaded papers ever from PLoS Medicine:

      Why Most Published Research Findings Are False

      Your best of the bad options is diligent n = 1 with as many blood panels and other health checks you can talk your doc into. And Less is More.

      • Robert Thomas

        Yep. That’s pretty much what I mean. Actual science.

        A great number of the downloads of Professor Ioannidis’s article in the succeeding decade has been due to investigators’ wanting to have a go at his big, fat flabby Greek reasoning – along with those of the bellicose and invidious enemies of science searching for bombs to throw.

        Professor Ioannidis’s meta-evaluative work is well known and his sober conclusion amounts NOT to any warning against consensus science; on the contrary, it’s a clear statement about how precisely the sort of interim implications such as those presented on this segment of Forum should be treated with the skepticism that such early, poorly supported, rarely reproduced, sociologically loaded, politically motivated, incendiary, and unjustly alarming assertions are due.

        • WBryanH

          Well RT, regarding Forum, I’m not sure what you expect from 30–60 minute segments on complex topics designed by necessity to appeal to a broad lay audience. How can these discussion be more that intros to topics that listeners are welcome to follow up or not? What are your specific suggestions to improve these?

          As for your claim “A great number of the downloads of Professor Ioannidis’s article in the succeeding decade has been due to investigators’ wanting to have a go at his big, fat flabby Greek reasoning.” Well RT, your gratuitous insults aside, it’d sure be interesting to see your quantitative evidence for your claim. Something that puts a finer point on what you say “”A great number’ of the downloads.” You know RT. Only if you happen to have that.

          • Robert Thomas

            I know it, the way that I know that if I pick up a stone and let go of it, that it will fall to the ground.

            “Big, fat, flabby Greek reasoning” came from a Stanford professor of my acquaintance, not from me.

            “We could solve much of the wrongness problem, Ioannidis says, if the world simply stopped expecting scientists to be right. That’s because being wrong in science is fine, and even necessary—as long as scientists recognize that they blew it, report their mistake openly instead of disguising it as a success, and then move on to the next thing, until they come up with the very occasional genuine breakthrough. But as long as careers remain contingent on producing a stream of research that’s dressed up to seem more right than it is, scientists will keep delivering exactly that.
            “‘Science is a noble endeavor, but it’s also a low-yield endeavor,’ he says. ‘I’m not sure that more than a very small percentage of medical research is ever likely to lead to major improvements in clinical outcomes and quality of life. We should be very comfortable with that fact.'”

            Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science
            By David H. Freedman
            The Atlantic Monthly, November 2010

            Indeed so. This is the reason that the mind-bogglingly preliminary investigations such as those hinted about in this Forum segment have a value of less than zero – they are almost guaranteed to distort and mislead.

          • WBryanH

            RT you say:

            “I know it, the way that I know that if I pick up a stone and let go of it, that it will fall to the ground.”

            What do you even refer to? You didn’t say.

          • Robert Thomas

            It’s a koan. Please, keep up.

          • WBryanH

            Yes, that’s a way to dodge to explain what you mean. Capped with the finely-dialed insult. Good going RT.

          • Robert Thomas

            De nada.

          • WBryanH


          • WBryanH

            RT, about this you quote from Freedman:

            “…but as long as careers remain contingent on producing a stream of research that’s dressed up to seem more right than it is, scientists will keep delivering exactly that…”

            Yes. Just so. And who funds those careers? Increasingly the very deep-pocketed corps. Thank you for lending support to what I said.

          • Robert Thomas

            We should all be on our knees, daily, pressing our faces to the ground in order to chew upon the Earth, in thanks for the opportunity to reside in such a world, at such a time.

          • WBryanH

            RT, I’m utterly grateful to live in today’s world. Esp the free access to immense amount of info. Some of it of reasonably high quality.

            But what you say here:

            “We should all be on our knees, daily, pressing our faces to the ground in order to chew upon the Earth, in thanks for the opportunity to reside in such a world, at such a time.”

            Well, that’s special. Do you mean to be sarcastic RT? If so, why? You don’t really believe we should be thankful to live in this world right now?

            If you are not being sarcastic, then I will leave it to you to press your face to the ground and chew upon the earth. If that’s how you want to express your thanks.

          • Robert Thomas

            Well, I have an invite to have ramen for lunch, right now. That’s as much piety as I’ll manage today, I reckon.

            And it’ll be positively packed with toxic VOCs.

    • alltruthbrandon

      ooooh, u know a lot of big words…I’m so impressed….

    • berkeleyborn

      Your point is good, but I don’t think the delivery had a positive effect. People are suspicious of science and our government (hence the popularity of the current group of Republican candidates). We need to acknowledge that we are living longer than ever and science has cured many a disease; the FDA has had a role in this. Unfortunately groups like EWG (that lack respect in the toxicology community and even UC Davis does not think they are credible) have the public’s ear due to feeding on fear. Our community believes in science when it comes to global warming, but not when it comes to their own bodies. Look at the fear of vaccinations.

      There is a widespread dislike of big corporations, but they are the only businesses that can survive in this climate of over regulation. A small business cannot afford to respond to all the regulatory paperwork currently required by governmental agencies.

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