Watchdog Tells Men to Take It Easy on Fragranced Cosmetics

As Father’s Day is celebrated tomorrow, a watch group on hazardous substances
cautioned men to be extra careful in purchasing cosmetics containing fragrances
that can disrupt hormonal functions and adversely affect their sexual and
reproductive health.
The EcoWaste Coalition, citing precautionary warnings by US-based advocacy
groups, said that some cosmetics marketed to men and teenage boys like body
spray and cologne, shaving cream, aftershave and hair products may contain
undisclosed chemicals of concern.
“The safety of cosmetics is not only a women’s issue as men and boys nowadays
use a variety of cosmetics and personal care products, making them just as
vulnerable to ingredients that can possibly harm their reproductive health and
fertility,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project
“One of these ingredients of concern is ‘fragrance’ which may contain endocrine
disrupting chemicals such as phathalates,” he pointed out.
“As fragrance ingredients are seldom fully listed on the label, consumers
should seek out fragrance-free products as a precaution against phthalate exposure.  Take it easy on fragrance-laced cosmetics,” he
“Although it’s just one little word on the ingredient label, ‘fragrance’ can
contain dozens, even hundreds of chemicals, including hormone-disrupting
phthalates and synthetic musks,” warned the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a
project of the San Francisco-based Breast Cancer Fund.
The Washington DC-based Environmental Working Group warned “some ingredients
are hormonally active; some of these are specifically linked to male
reproductive system disorders” such as endocrine-disrupting phthalates, which
are commonly found in fragrances. 
Some of the reproductive health issues associated with exposure to phthalates
include poor semen quality, decreased sperm counts, infertility, altered
hormone levels and testicular and prostate cancer.
“While men are exposed on average to six products a day versus 12 products for
women, they are still exposed to some 80 unique chemicals from personal care
products such as soap, shampoo, shaving cream, fragranced aftershave, etc.,”
said scientist Dr. Ann Blake, an expert on toxics reduction strategies.
Blake, who spoke at a lecture-forum in 2012 co-organized by the EcoWaste
Coalition and Food and Drugs Administration, said that “some male-specific
health effects include exposure to Di-Ethyl Phthalate (DEP), a hormone
disruptor, that impact on sperm quality and motility.”

Safe cosmetics groups advised men and other consumers to avoid or reduce their
use of products with added fragrance, to read product labels closely and to
find safer substitutes.