CTPA Responds to Report on Cosmetics Blocking Androgens in Male Fetuses

The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) has responded to reports questioning the safety of perfumes and scented body lotion for unborn males.

The CTPA states,"Safety is the number one priority for the cosmetics industry. As required by law, every single cosmetic and perfumery product is assessed for safety by qualified professionals before being placed on the market. Products must be and are safe for such use. Safety assessments take account of the fact that any cosmetic or perfume may be used by pregnant women at any time and that consumers will be exposed to complex mixtures of ingredients. Both the immediate and long-term consequences of use of the ingredients are taken into account."

The statement in in response to reports by the newswires Scotland on Sunday and the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail claiming that pregnant women should avoid perfume, scented body creams and cosmetics. The report was based on research by Professor Richard Sharpe, the principal investigator in the Medical Research Council's human reproductive sciences unit.

The reports claim that the reproductive systems of fetuses may be damaged by chemicals in personal care products used by their mothers. Sharpe's research reportedly discovered the chemicals to block the delivery of androgens in the fetuses, resulting in infertility problems or cancer later in life. Sharpe's research was conducted on rats.

According to the CTPA, feeding large doses of substances may produce adverse effects in experimental animals like rats, but low levels of exposure in normal cosmetics use are without any such adverse effects when applied topically to humans. CTPA stresses that cosmetics and perfumery products are safe for use during pregnancy.

Sharpe has added on the Sense about Science Web site that his research was taken out of context. He maintains that his research is not cosmetic related and that the chemicals tested are common environmental chemicals.

Sharpe will be presenting his research at the Simpson Symposia in Edinburgh, UK today.

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