Hormone-disrupting substances during pregnancy
Endocrine disrupting substances during pregnancy
On 19 December 2013, Zembla (a Dutch investigative journalism television programme) broadcast a report on the risks of endocrine disrupting substances in pregnant women (http://zembla.vara.nl/dossier/uitzending/zorgwekkende-stoffen). It explained that endocrine disrupting substances pose a threat to small children (up to three months) and to the foetus in the womb of a pregnant woman. Certain chemicals can upset their hormone systems and cause these babies to have fertility problems later on.
Not all countries have government education on these substances. But in countries such as Denmark, a country that pays great attention to health and safety, information about such substances and their risks has been available for many years. For pregnant women in particular, these substances can pose risks because they are carrying a vulnerable foetus that is extra susceptible to risky substances.
In Denmark, pregnant women are warned about the following substances:
Fragrance: Many products contain fragrance, for example detergent, hair products, skincare, cosmetics, food, etc. By constantly exposing your body to perfume, you can develop an allergy. Also, cosmetics almost always contain fragrance, to camouflage the natural smell of the ingredients (which often does not smell very nice). But actually, that is not necessary at all: If you wear mascara, for example, no one is going to sniff your eyelashes to see if it smells good or not. Make-up is decorative, so it doesn't need to carry an artificial scent.
In cosmetics, you can recognise the use of fragrance by ingredients such as Cinnamy, Coumarin, Eugenol, Geraniol, Isoeugenol, Citronellol, Farnesol, Limonene, Anise Alcohol, Treemoss, Perfume, Perfume Mix. Essential oils also contain fragrances, so caution is advised there as well. In Unity Cosmetics' products, there is never any fragrance nor any essential oils!
Parabens: These are relatively inexpensive preservatives that can potentially have a negative impact on hormones. Various types of parabens are frequently used in cosmetics, you can recognise them by their names such as Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben and Isopropylparaben (always ending in 'paraben').
Unity Cosmetics products never contain parabens!
Hair dye and aerosols: Hair dyes and aerosols often contain aggressive chemicals that can cause allergies.
Bisphenol A (BPA): This is a substance that can be found in the plastic on the inside of cans, or on the inside of lids of (vegetable) jars. Drinking cups, lunch boxes, toys and CD cases also contain BPA. The amount of BPA varies per product, and the more often a product containing BPA is washed, the less BPA is released (so washing lunchboxes and drinking cups regularly is very important!). The use of hot drinks in BPA drinking cups is not recommended, as this may increase the release of BPA.
Plasticisers (phthalates): Interiors and wallpaper can contain phthalates. Specific types of plasticisers can enter the body through house dust or through 'leakage' or 'evaporation'. Anyone who has ever sat in a new car will recognise the smell of a 'new car'; the evaporation of phthalates in the car interior creates this smell! The greasy deposit that sometimes appears on the inside of a car window is also caused by the evaporation of phthalates.
The most common phthalates are: Diethyl phthalate (DEP), Di(iso-nonyl) phthalate (DiNP), Di(2-ethylhexyl) adipate (DEHA), Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP), di(ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), and mono-isobutyl phthalate (MiBP).
One of the most commonly used and risky / 'suspect' phthalates is DEHP. In the Netherlands, the government indicates that exposure to DEHP during pregnancy may adversely affect the development of the testes and sperm production in male foetuses. Because the effect after exposure during childhood is probably not reversible, and exposure in a child is much higher than in an adult (because of low body weight and because children want to put everything in their mouths), the government indicates that especially in the child risks are prevented. Therefore, in 2005, a ban on children's toys containing DEHP was introduced throughout the European Union. Because small children often put toys in their mouths, an increased release of DEHP into the body can occur quite easily. And although children's toys may not contain DEHP, this plasticiser is present in many sex toys! The government indicates that a possible harmful effect can occur if there is contact with such an 'adult toy' more than 10 times a week. In cosmetics, phthalates are often used as fragrance carriers (to strengthen the scent of perfume), solvents (nail polish) or fixatives (hairspray). Unity Cosmetics' products do not contain phthalates.
Women who are pregnant, or have just become mothers, often think about the safety and health of their (unborn) child; they eat healthy, avoid alcohol and tobacco during pregnancy, and want the best for their child. But without really realising it, cosmetics can also give you access to all kinds of substances that could be harmful to an unborn child. In such a vulnerable period, it is better to be on the safe side by switching to fragrance-free and paraben-free make-up!
All Unity Cosmetics products are completely free of the substances mentioned in the above article.
It is not the case that everyone develops an allergy by using these ingredients, it depends to a large extent on the quantity used and the vulnerability of the skin (with small children, the skin is more vulnerable than with adults and also with people with, for example, eczema the skin is extra vulnerable). Research into these ingredients constantly produces new results, and one study is more nuanced than the next. It is mainly about awareness of the use of various products. Be critical in what you use and always read the information on labels and packaging carefully!