New Scientist, April 2006
Globalisation has brought on lifestyle changes in India, particularly amongst the youth. Suddenly, all the cosmetics yous saw in glossy magazines published abroad, are now available in, say, Bandra, across a fancy counter, and whats more , it looks like cash flow is not a problem for some people.
We are now replicating something, which must have happened in the US and Europe in the sixties and early seventies .Extravagant attention to personal looks, familial pressures, the obsession with "gora pan" (fairness), and the easy availability of Cosmetic surgeons willing to reshape (for the better), everything about you, except possibly your bank balance....Sunscreens are now the rage in summer, with several cosmetic companies vying with each other to market, waterproof, state -of-the-art stuff. Its not as if the sun has suddenly got stronger in India, or peoples' skin has suddenly become delicate etc. But the advent of real time sports on TV, combined with smart marketing by sports icons, has created a market.
In the meanwhile, in 2001 Swiss researchers reported that 4-methyl-benzylidene camphor (4-MBC), among other sunscreen chemicals, mimicks the reproductive hormone oestrogen and accelerates the development of the uterus in rats. Now German scientists say they have data from rats showing the extent to which this chemical can disrupt thyroid hormone and change the volume of the gland itself.
Josef Kohrle of Charite University of Medicine in Berlin and his colleagues fed various amounts of 4-MBC to rats. They say that feeding the animals the compound makes sense because environmental surveys in countries such as Switzerland have detected it in lake waters.
Rats that received a daily dose of 33 milligrams of 4-MBC per kilogram of their bodyweight for five days showed a 15% increase in thyroid-stimulating hormone, which prompts the thyroid to produce metabolism-regulating hormones. Rats that received a daily dose of 33 milligrams of 4-MBC per kilogram of their bodyweight for five days showed a 15% increase in thyroid-stimulating hormone, which prompts the thyroid to produce metabolism-regulating hormones
Danish researchers recently reported that 4-MBC from topically applied sunscreen can enter the blood.
Sunscreen creams also contain some UV blocking chemicals like benzophenone 2 that act on the thyroid.
Today in India, with while females are now reaching puberty earlier and earlier (as early as 8 years), hormones being added to cows diet resulting in hormone studded milk for humans, and huge amount of estrogen mimicing chemicals in our environment, it is important that some study be carried out on harmful cosmetics, and the results be widely publicised.