हानिकारक रसायन...! Potentially Harmful Chemicals

Author : Dr. P. D.GUPTA

Former Director Grade Scientist, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India


If we look around our homes we will find many chemicals which are potentially harmful especially to male as well female reproduction. This we may not notice immediately But we have to repent later on.  Exposure to such harms us without our knowledge. One of those substances called phthalates, which are widely used to make plastic more flexible and durable. The other group of chemicals are Parabens. These are the esters (derivatives) of para-hydroxybenzoic acid ,mimicking estrogen, the hormone which makes a woman a woman; women love it and men hate it.

Parabens and phthalates are part of our Cosmetics such as Tooth pastes. Lotions, Shower Gels, Vaginal Lubricants, Perfumes, Indoor Dust, Suntan Lotion, Makeup Foundation, Lipsticks, Makeup Powder, Eye Liner, Eye Shadow, Shampoo, Conditioners, Bar Soap, Liquid Soap, and Nail Polish all contain parabens. Scientific details are given in the article P D Gupta: Parabens: The love - hate molecule. (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/341238153)

Go to a “Beauty Parlours” you will find these even in the air.  They also bind fragrances to products ranging from candles to laundry detergent and cosmetics. Then there were the soft plastic earbuds picked up at an airport and the shiny enamel sparkling fingernails. 

At Harvard University has conducted more than a dozen studies indicating that certain phthalates impair reproductive health. This study showed that men with higher concentrations of phthalates in their urine (a measure of exposure) have lower sperm counts and poorer sperm motility than men with less of these substances.

Women with high levels of exposure are more likely to have fertility problems, miscarriages, preterm labour, and low-birth-weight babies. Recent research also implicates the chemicals in the growth of uterine fibroids—noncancerous tumours that can cause pain, bleeding, diminished fertility, and pregnancy complications. Due to such dangerous consequences, in 2017 the U.S. government banned the use of certain phthalates in toys.  Another serious matter, because of this exposure there is a  change in the male development of reproductive organs

At certain time periods exposure to the above-mentioned chemicals is particularly concerning, research suggests. These include the pre-conception period when eggs and sperm mature, pregnancy, and early childhood.  High exposure to phthalates during pregnancy was associated with a 12 to 16 percent increase in the probability of giving birth three or more weeks early—which can put newborns at risk. The study included more than 6,000 pregnancies and drew such conclusions.

There are certain suggestions that people can lower their exposure by making small changes in their homes and habits, such as replacing scented detergents and skin creams with fragrance-free varieties and buying frozen food items pre-packaged in plastic. Such actions also can pressure the industry to make safer products. And avoid unnecessary cosmetics and plastic cookware. (The author has his own study and views)