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Comment & Response
March 18, 2020

Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals in Cosmetics

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology, The University of Texas at Austin
  • 2Public Health Institute, Berkeley, California
JAMA Dermatol. 2020;156(5):603-604. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2020.0301

To the Editor Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) disturb hormones and their actions. Of the hundreds of known EDCs, a subset are present in personal care products, making them relevant to dermatologists. As experts in the fields of endocrinology and epidemiology who conduct research on EDCs, we write to add a different perspective. The authors of a recent Editorial1 dismiss as nonscientific the clean beauty movement’s concerns about certain chemicals because its proponents are nonexperts. We take no stand on that movement. Instead, we point to a vast body of scientific studies2 showing that some of these chemicals, including phthalates3 and sunscreen ingredients (eg, oxybenzone),4 are EDCs. Formaldehyde is a Group 1 carcinogen according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and parabens are banned from cosmetics in the European Union.

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