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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Michigan: Hygiene Products Associated With Presence of Chemicals in Women’s Blood

Women who use a vaginal douche could be at a higher risk of exposure to potentially dangerous chemicals, according to a University of Michigan School of Public Health study that looked at the correlation between the use of female hygiene products and the levels of volatile organic compounds in women’s blood.

The study found a significant association between vaginal douching and higher blood concentrations of 1,4-dichlorobenzene, a volatile organic compound. Because black women in the study reported significantly more use of vaginal douching, researchers believe they could be at higher risk of exposure to the chemicals and their negative effects.

According to the study, women who used a vaginal douche two or more times per month had concentrations 81 percent higher than those that never used. Women who used douches occasionally (once a month) had 18 percent higher concentrations of the chemical.

“While they are more concerned about disrupting the balance of bacteria in the genital area or interrupt the pH level, they have not focused on the toxicity of those endocrine disrupting chemicals, which is really important and need to be highlighted,” said Ms. Ning Ding, a doctoral candidate in epidemiology at U-M’s School of Public Health and lead author of the study.

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