Icon WebMD Expert Blogs

Healthy Begins Here

with Healthy Child Healthy World

This blog has been retired.


The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, review, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have... Expand

The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, reviews, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. User-generated content areas are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD User-generated content as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Can Perfume Make You Fat?

By Alicia Katz


According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of obese children ages six to eleven in the United States has grown from 7% percent in 1980 to more than 40% in 2008.

What could be causing such a rapid increase? Researchers from the Childrens Environmental Health Center at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York say childhood obesity could be linked to chemicals found in cosmetics.

Mount Sinai researchers have found an association between childhood obesity and phthalates, endocrine-disrupting chemicals commonly found in, lotions, nail polish, and perfumes, as well as a wide range of other everyday products made from vinyl.

This first-of-its-kind study measured phthalate concentrations in the urine of 387 children and recorded body measurements including Body Mass Index (BMI), height, and waist circumference one year later. The urine tests revealed that more than 97% of the children were exposed to the type of phthalates commonly used in personal care products. The researchers also found an association between concentrations of these phthalates with BMI and waist circumference among overweight children.

Though the data is significant, the Mount Sinai researchers say that more research will be needed to prove that phthalate exposure causes increased body size.

What exactly are phthalates?

Phthalates are a class of chemicals used as softeners, or plasticizers, in polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl) products, including children’s toys, decorating and building products, blood bags, and other medical equipment. Phthalates are also found in solvents, cosmetics, personal care products, wood finishes, and insecticides. Why would manufacturers use phthalates? When added to plastic, they increase its flexibility and durability.

How can you avoid phthalate exposure?

1.     Read labels. Look for products that are labeled “Phthalate Free.” Phthalates can sneak up on you with different names like diethyl phthalate (DEP), di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP), and benzylbutyl phthalate(BBP).

2.     Avoid Fragrance. Fragrance is considered a trade secret so companies don’t have to disclose their “secret” ingredients. Many companies use the term “fragrance” in product labeling and you have no way of knowing what is used. Choose pure essential oils instead of perfumes.

3.     Use EWGs Skin Deep Cosmetic Database. Skin Deep contains information and online safety assessments for thousands of products from makeup to sunscreen to toothpaste.

4.     Avoid vinyl: Throw away any teethers or soft plastic toys made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl) that your child could put in his or her mouth. Choose wooden, cloth, or hard plastic toys and check with manufacturers to make sure their products are free of phthalates. Vinyl is also used in your home; whenever possible, choose non-vinyl flooring and wall coverings.

Posted by: WebMD Blogs at 4:25 pm

Subscribe & Stay Informed

Parenting and Children's Health

Get the Parenting & Children's Health newsletter and get useful parenting tips and health news you need to keep your little ones happy & healthy.


WebMD Health News