Environmental Distribution of Personal Care Products and Their Effects on Human Health

Document Type : Review Paper


1 Toxicology and Diseases Group, Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Center (PSRC), The Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (TIPS), Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Tehran, Iran.

2 Department of Toxicology and Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


Personal care products (PCPs) are generally used for personal hygiene, cleaning, grooming, and beautifcation. These include hair and skin care products, baby care products, UV  blocking creams, facial cleansers, insect repellents, perfumes, fragrances, soap, detergents, shampoos, conditioners, toothpaste, etc., thus exposing humans easily. Personal preferences related to PCPs usage frequency are highly variable and depend on socioeconomic status and lifestyle factors. The increasing availability and diversity of PCPs from the retailer outlets consequently result in higher loading of PCPs into wastewater systems and, therefore, the environment. These compounds persistently and continuously release biologically active and inactive ingredients in the atmosphere, biosphere, geosphere, and demonstrating adverse effects on human, wild, and marine life. Advanced techniques such as granular activated carbon fltration and algae-based system may help biotransformation and remove PCP contaminants from water with improved effciency. Additionally, harmony among PCPs related regulations of different countries may encourage standard checks to control their manufacturing, sale, and distribution across the borders to ensure consumers’ safety. Furthermore, all intended ingredients, their concentrations, and instructions for frequency of use as per age groups may be clearly labeled on packages of PCPs. In conclusion, the emerging environmental contaminants of PCPs and their association with the growing risks of negative effects on human health and globally on the environment emphasize the chemical-free simple lifestyle.

Graphical Abstract

Environmental Distribution of Personal Care Products and Their Effects on Human Health