An endocrine disruptor is an exogenous substance or mixture that alters function of the endocrine system and consequently causes adverse health effects.
The report from Que Choisir (translated as ‘What To Choose'), reveals that some cosmetic products still contain harmful substances, claiming to have found endocrine disruptors in 66 different products that ranged from deodorants to body washes and hand creams.
It suggests that despite companies being under pressure to remove harmful chemicals from their products, this is not happening; however the CTPA highlights that there is a legal obligation for manufacturers and importers to carry out a rigorous safety assessment performed by a qualified, scientific expert before placing a cosmetic product on the market.
Dr Chris Flower, Director-General of the CTPA, comments; “People should not be misled on this issue: cosmetic products do not contain endocrine disruptors and there is absolutely no need for concern.”
In Europe, all cosmetic products are strictly controlled by safety legislation, taking into account the finished product, all of the ingredients, how and where the product is to be used, how often and by whom.
“It is true that certain substances may mimic some of the properties of our hormones or may, under experimental conditions, show a potential to interact with parts of the endocrine system. But these conditions are not related to real life,” explains the CTPA.
Its statement highlights that we consume many natural hormone mimics every day as part of a normal, healthy diet, but do not think of these foods or the substances in them as endocrine disruptors and no harm to health comes from eating them.
“Similarly, even if a cosmetic ingredient may seem to be a potential endocrine mimic, it will not possess the characteristics necessary to affect the endocrine system. Consequently, such substances may be used safely because there is no risk to health.”