Hairspray is one of those “basic” beauty products that has been around since what seems like the beginning of time. You used it, your mom used it, her mom used it, and, unless you’re going to light a match in its spray and use it as a fire torch, it’s got a pretty good reputation as being safe.
Which makes this study kind of shocking. As reported on by the DailyMail and published in the International Journal Of Environmental Research and Public Health, women who used hairspray during pregnancy were twice as likely to have a boy with the birth defect of hypospadias, a genital condition that is linked to fertility issues.
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The study also suggests that certain coloring shampoos could cause issues. The thinking is that there are certain chemicals found in both products that disrupt male hormones during the first trimester of pregnancy. “The precautionary principle should apply to pregnant women and they should be advised to limit their use of hair cosmetic,” the researchers advised.
While this is a really scary thought, cosmetic chemist Kelly Dobos says the study isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
“After reviewing the study cited, in detail, I find it inconclusive. The study relied on survey data regarding use of hairspray and hair color lumped together, and the two are very different types of products.”
“Furthermore, the survey data appears to have been taken from a questionnaire administered to new mothers taken not long after birth regarding use of products during the first trimester of pregnancy. The accuracy of memory regarding frequency of use that far in the past is questionable. The study found a slightly higher correlation with having a garden to having a child with hypospadias,” she says. “Proving once again, the beauty industry is often a target of fear-mongering and this is just another example.”
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