A study by the Imperial College London said that women who are exposed to hairspray during pregnancy may be at an increased risk of giving birth to boys with a genital defect, HealthDay News reported.

The defect is a condition called hypospadias, in which the opening of the urethra is on the underside of the penis, instead of at the tip, according to the Mayo Clinic’s Web site.

Researchers questioned more than 470 women whose sons were born with the condition and a similar number of women whose sons did not have the condition.

About twice as many females in the genital defect group said they were exposed to hairspray through their jobs as hairdressers, according to an article in BBC News.

However, there is no proof that exposure to hairspray can cause hypospadias, said the authors of the study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

“Women shouldn’t be alarmed,” said study leader Professor Paul Elliott. “This study adds a bit more evidence to the general picture about these chemicals, but more research will be needed to demonstrate that the link exists. Pregnant women will need to make their own choices about whether or not to avoid these kinds of exposures.”

Click here to read more from health24.com.

Click here to read more on this study from Environmental Health Perspectives.