Provided by YouBeauty.com
Your endocrine system is a system of glands that regulates biological processes like growth and development, metabolism, tissue function and mood. It secretes hormones into the bloodstream, which act as messengers, telling different parts of the body what to do. An endocrine disruptor is a synthetic chemical that does what its name implies – it messes with your body’s natural signals.
These hormone doppelgängers have the potential for a wide variety of side effects, ranging from milder issues like acne and weight gain to potentially serious conditions like birth defects and cancer. Since beauty products are directly applied to the skin, harmful compounds enter the bloodstream directly, bypassing the protective mechanisms in the gut and liver. Even more importantly, toxins can accumulate in our bodies because we don’t get rid of them as fast as we are exposed, a process called bioaccumulation. So even low doses, if frequent and sustained, can lead to dangerous concentrations within us.
Bisphenol A, or BPA, is the most talked about endocrine disruptor of concern. Although its hormone-mimicking activity has been known for decades, it’s still commonly used in the making of cosmetics and their plastic containers.
Multiple studies have linked BPA exposure to detrimental developmental effects. The evidence was strong enough for several countries – including Canada, Denmark and China – to ban or limit the use of BPA in baby bottles and other child-targeted products. Pregnant women, too, are recommended to avoid BPA. As the authors of a recent review study wrote, when it comes to exposure in the womb, "We don't know what a safe level of BPA is."
BPA isn’t the only ingredient under siege when it comes to children’s health. Chemicals called phthalates are also highly scrutinized. Exposure to phthalates, which are found in everything from PVC pipes to perfumes to nail polish, has been linked to medical problems in infants and children including allergies, asthma and ADHD. The growing body of evidence against phthalates prompted the European Union, Canada and the US to ban the use of them in children’s toys.