Cosmetics such as nail polish, antibacterial soaps, anti-ageing creams — all with high chemical contents — cause severe negative effects on female fertility besides having several other side-effects, doctors said on Wednesday.
According to them, mounting research on the subject has raised certain concerns regarding the potential side-effects of these cosmetic products. Chemicals in beauty products have complicated effects on women’s hormones and reproductive systems.
“Several endocrine-disrupting chemicals have been identified to affect abnormal ovarian function, miscarriages and female infertility.Antibacterial soap can also kill your chances of conceiving,” Sagarika Aggarwal, IVF expert associated with city-based Indira IVF, told IANS.
Stating that antibacterial soaps contain chemical triclosan which is linked to endocrine disruption that messes up with the hormones, Aggarwal said the chemical interferes with the reproductive system.
“Parabens are a type of preservative (present in soaps, shampoos and conditioners) used to prevent the growth of bacteria. But too much of it can have an impact on fertility. When hormones are out of balance, the chances of creating healthy eggs or healthy sperm is reduced,” said Aggarwal.
A survey by the business chamber Assocham in 2013 had revealed that 75 per cent of Indian youngsters in the 16-21 age group spend over Rs 6,000 per month on cosmetics.
The experts have said that ingredients in nail polish contain a cocktail of chemicals known to cause birth defects and harm fertility, especially a concern with formaldehyde, phthalates like DPT (dibutyl phthalate), toulene and a range of other volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
“Phthalates are connected to both male and female infertility,” said Manjula B.C., a Bengaluru-based IVF expert.
Talking about nail polish removers, Manjula said that it contain toxic chemicals such as acetone, methyl methacrylate, toluene, and ethyl acetate.
“Toluene, a commonly used solvent to get glossy finish on the nails, also affects the CNS and causes reproductive harm. Phthalates, most common chemical found in almost every cosmetic product, is found to disrupt the hormone levels, affect fertility and build up in breast milk when you do get pregnant,” said Manjula.
Jyoti Tripathy, an Indore-based independent IVF expert, said exposure to these cosmetic chemicals puts women at a higher risk of miscarriage and the baby at risk for physical and mental birth defects.
“It can cause miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, learning problems, behavioural issues and brain, kidney or nervous system damage,” said Tripathy.