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Scientists from the University of Granada (UGR) have developed a simple analytical methodology that allows determining the presence of organic pollutants (parabens and benzophenomas) frequently used in personal care products (PCPs) in menstrual blood samples.
PCPs include cosmetics, household items, and drugs, among others. These products are produced in enormous quantities (thousands of tons per year) due to the great use we make of them in our daily actions. Among the synthetic compounds used in PCP formulations are parabens and benzophenones.
Parabens are used as preservatives in hygiene products, beverages, foods and drugs, while benzophenones are used primarily as ultraviolet filters for sun protection in creams and lotions.
As explained by one of the authors of the UGR, Olga Ocón Hernández, “the biotransformation of parabens and benzophenones (assimilation by the body) depends on the form of exposure, but it is known that they transform into simpler derivatives that can be easily excreted through urine ”.
Exposure to these toxic products is related to
an increased risk of allergen sensitization,
sperm DNA damage and endometriosis
"However, because our excretory metabolic system is not completely effective, these compounds can accumulate in different human compartments, such as placental tissue and breast milk, among other matrices," he adds.
100% had some organic contaminant
In this study, the researchers analyzed the presence of 4 parabens and 6 benzophenones in menstrual blood samples donated by 25 Spanish women. The results obtained reflect that all the samples analyzed contained at least 3 of the compounds studied, with methylparaben (96%) and benzophenone-3 (96%) being the most frequently detected.
“The concern in the use and consumption of products in whose composition are parabens and benzophenones derives from the recent findings on the adverse effects that these compounds can cause. The problem is that they act as endocrine disruptors, since they have the ability to alter the normal homeostasis of the endocrine system in living beings, ”says Ocón.
Thus, exposure to these toxic products has been associated with an increased risk of allergen sensitization, sperm DNA damage and endometriosis, among other disorders. To date, most epidemiological studies that analyze the relationship between levels of human exposure to pollutants and health usually use serum or urine as a matrix to measure pollutants.
“However, to establish relationships with menstrual disorders or endometriosis, we thought that its measurement in menstrual blood would be interesting, since it provides a better estimate of its contribution to the uterine hormonal microenvironment. Progesterone and estradiol are essential hormones for the control of the menstrual cycle, so it is plausible that human exposure to these types of substances affects their production and function and, therefore, the regulation of the menstrual cycle and the characteristics of the menstrual cycle. bleeding, in terms of duration and amount ", says the UGR researcher.
The next goal of the research group will be to analyze a significant number of menstrual blood samples, allowing them to establish relationships with bleeding patterns, risk of menstrual disorders and endometriosis.
I. Jiménez-Díaz, L.M. Iribarne-Durán, O. Ocón, E. Salamanca, M.F. Fernández, N. Olea, E. Barranco. Determination of personal care products –benzophenones and parabens– in human menstrual blood. Journal of Chromatography B. Volume 1035, 1 November 2016, Pages 57–66. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jchromb.2016.09.035