Chemical Exposures via Personal Care Products and the Disproportionate Asthma Burden Among the U.S. Black Population

Erika Raley, Lesliam Quirós-Alcalá, Elizabeth C. Matsui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An evolving body of literature links chemicals commonly found in personal care products (PCPs) to an increased risk of both developing asthma and worsening existing asthma. Phthalates, parabens, environmental phenols, such as triclosan and bisphenol A, and other endocrine-disrupting compounds have been implicated in asthma and related allergic conditions in epidemiological studies. Because Black individuals have increased exposure to these chemicals through hair care products and feminine hygiene products, disproportionate exposure to these chemicals through PCPs could contribute, in part, to the disproportionate asthma prevalence and morbidity among the U.S. Black population. Increased exposure to these chemicals among Black individuals is explained, in part, by more frequent use of hair care products that can contain higher concentrations of these chemicals and greater use of feminine hygiene products, which are also sources of exposure to these chemicals. Epidemiological evidence using urinary biomarkers of exposure demonstrates associations between PCPs and exposure to these chemicals and that the U.S. Black population has greater exposure to these chemicals than the non-Black population. Should chemical exposures through PCPs contribute to the excess burden of asthma among the U.S. Black population, reducing these exposures would reduce this disparity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3290-3292
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Asthma
  • Asthma disparities
  • Endocrine-disrupting compounds
  • Personal care products

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


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