Associations among personal care product use patterns and exogenous hormone use in the NIEHS Sister Study

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It is hypothesized that certain chemicals in personal care products may alter the risk of adverse health outcomes. The primary aim of this study was to use a data-centered approach to classify complex patterns of exposure to personal care products and to understand how these patterns vary according to use of exogenous hormone exposures, oral contraceptives (OCs) and postmenopausal hormone therapy (HT). The NIEHS Sister Study is a prospective cohort study of 50,884 US women. Limiting the sample to non-Hispanic blacks and whites (N = 47,019), latent class analysis (LCA) was used to identify groups of individuals with similar patterns of personal care product use based on responses to 48 survey questions. Personal care products were categorized into three product types (beauty, hair, and skincare products) and separate latent classes were constructed for each type. Adjusted prevalence differences (PD) were calculated to estimate the association between exogenous hormone use, as measured by ever/never OC or HT use, and patterns of personal care product use. LCA reduced data dimensionality by grouping of individuals with similar patterns of personal care product use into mutually exclusive latent classes (three latent classes for beauty product use, three for hair, and four for skin care. There were strong differences in personal care usage by race, particularly for haircare products. For both blacks and whites, exogenous hormone exposures were associated with higher levels of product use, especially beauty and skincare products. Relative to individual product use questions, latent class variables capture complex patterns of personal care product usage. These patterns differed by race and were associated with ever OC and HT use. Future studies should consider personal care product exposures with other exogenous exposures when modeling health risks.

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