Health warning over use of cosmetics
Manama, November 9, 2011
Women wear an average of 500 chemicals on their bodies every day and some pose serious health risks, according to a top expert.
Sixty per cent of the chemicals can be found floating in the bloodstream and some are toxic when they touch the skin, said Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife environmental control directorate waste disposal unit head, Rehan Ahmed.
"Women douse themselves daily with perfume, moisturiser, lotions, deodorants, hair styling and beauty products and a wide variety of cosmetics that contain hundreds of chemicals," he said.
"Fragrance and perfume is in common use and is considered a trade secret. So, manufacturers use a wide variety of chemicals, sometimes more than 100 to make up their signature scent.
"Chemicals in beauty products and skincare don't just go skin deep, they seep into the pores and body. Sixty per cent of the chemicals can be found floating in the bloodstream. Many of the chemicals can be toxic when they touch the skin, leaving rashes, burns and worse," he said.
Ahmed was speaking on Chemicals and the Environment at a seminar held at the Bahrain Society of Engineers Auditorium, Juffair.
He explained that chemicals were found everywhere, including cigarettes, household products, nail polish, insect sprays, insecticides, pesticides and fertilisers.
"There are uncountable adverse health effects that can arise from exposure to chemicals," he said. “Toxic chemicals can cause health problems like damage to the lungs, liver, kidney, bones, blood, brain, nerves and the reproductive systems.”
"The potential impacts also include cancer, high blood pressure, asthma, deficits in attention, memory, learning and IQ, infertility, peripheral nerve damage and dysfunctional immune systems."
Ahmed said unfortunately, only a small percentage of the 100,000 existing chemicals had been tested for potential health effects, such as cancer, reproductive and developmental toxicity, or impacts on the immune system.
He said that among the approximate 15,000 which have been tested, few have been studied enough to correctly estimate potential risks from exposure.
"Even when testing is done, each chemical is tested individually rather than in the combinations that one is exposed to in the real world," said Ahmed. "In reality, no one is ever exposed to a single chemical, but to a chemical soup or cocktail, the ingredients of which may interact to cause unpredictable health effects."
The seminar was organised by the Institution of Engineers Pakistan - Bahrain Chapter in association with the Bahrain Society of Engineers.
The second talk on Chemicals Management in Bahrain - Obligations and Responsibilities was presented by Public Commission environmental control directorate pollution control section head Jaffar Salman.
Salman discussed how to classify, handle, store and label chemicals.
He spoke about chemical management legislation in Bahrain, procedures for chemical licensing and how to apply for permission to import chemicals. – TradeArabia News Service