SHAMPOO::Chemicals could affect the unborn fetus

Pregnant women who use standard shampoo could be harming their unborn babies. Scientists have found that the chemical MIT (methylisothiazolinone), found in many popular shampoo brands, can affect the development of nerve cells.
The researchers, from Pittsburgh University, are concerned that the chemical, which is also put in popular hand lotions, could have a damaging effect on the unborn fetus.
So far their research has been restricted to experiments on rats, but they fear that the same damaging effects could happen among humans.
MIT is used to kill bacteria that live near moisture and water. It is put in water-cooling systems and in factories that need water for manufacturing – and it is also used as a preservative in popular shampoos and hand lotions.
The researchers found that prolonged exposure to low levels of the chemical inhibited the development of nerve cell structures called dendrites and axons, which allow one cell to transmit to another.
But safety groups in the UK and Europe say that MIT has passed all the standard tests, and there is no evidence that it can cross the placenta and into the circulation of a developing fetus.
(Source: Proceedings of the American Society for Cell Biology annual meeting, Washington DC, December 5, 2004)

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