The use of phthalates in cosmetics has been banned in Europe since 2003, but not in the USA or elsewhere. Recent research shows that phthalates may bring on early menopause in some women.
A team of scientists at Washington University, Missouri (USA) has warned the public about the possible effects of phthalates on the female hormonal system, as they may bring menopause forward by 2.3 years on average and even by as much as 15 years in extreme cases. Phthalates are found in plastic packaging, food wrappers and, in the USA, also in cosmetics (make-up, nail polish, hair sprays, etc.). The Washington University researchers analysed phthalate levels in the blood or urine of 5 700 women. Women who had experienced earlier menopause had the highest phthalate levels. This study confirms other recent works that link phthalates directly to diabetes, obesity and cancer risk.