Tuesday, April 21, 2015

URSP Student Christopher Andrews Assesses the Personal Care Products Exposure and Risk Perception on College Students

I first approached Dr. Pollack about my interest to conduct epidemiologic research in the fall of my freshman year at Mason. I was interested in this project because it affects people from my background (college students) and it deals with things I use every day. My research is related to my long-term goals because I am really interested in public health and hope to work for the Center of Disease Control as an Epidemiologist with a medical degree. My goal is to better educate our youth that way they can make better life decisions.  Also, I want to create better strategies and initiate better public health measures that will keep our citizens safer.

My research is an ongoing project of Dr. Pollack’s, on the health effects of common exposures to chemicals in personal care products. Personal care products are hygiene products such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, make-up, etc… They may contain chemicals such as: parabens, phthalates, and triclosan and synthetic musks. One example of a chemical in personal care products is Galaxolide, it is a synthetic musk chemical that is used in scented products. However, it is not listed on product labels, it is a component included in the ingredient fragrance. Galaxolide can be found in lotion, cream, and bars of soap, shampoo and toothpaste (Correia et al., 2013). The known effects of this chemical includes skin irritation, and it has been found contamination of human milk (Levenstein, 1975).

I spend roughly nine to ten hours on my research project per week. My weekly tasks for my project changes every month. During the months of September to October I developed surveys for college students to take. In November and December I administered the surveys and for the months of January and February I performed data entry for each of the surveys.  During the months of March and April I will perform data analysis and try to come up with my research question. During months of April and May I will present my research findings at the Undergraduate Research Symposium at George Mason University.  One thing that I have discovered this week is how to use references more effectively.