Cosmetics and health

The Ugly Side of Pretty
By Rebecca Ephraim, Common Ground.
Posted April 6, 2005.

" Emerging science suggests that untold numbers of cosmetics and personal care ingredients may be silently and insidiously promoting cancer, ravaging women's reproductive functions and causing birth defects...

"There's not one smoking gun that we can point to and say 'it's that personal care product, that deodorant, that nail polish that is going to give you cancer," said Jeanne Rizzo, the executive director of the San Francisco-based Breast Cancer Fund. "We can say the cumulative exposure -- the aggregate exposure that we all have to a myriad of personal care products containing carcinogens, mutagens and reproductive toxins, has not been assessed."...


As activist Charlotte Brody points out, "Neither cosmetic products nor cosmetic ingredients are reviewed or approved by the Food and Drug Administration before they are sold to the public. And the FDA cannot require companies to do safety testing of their cosmetic products before marketing.

Made up -- but safely?
The Breast Cancer Fund and dozens of other social profit groups, are waging the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, to inform the public and get toxic chemicals out of cosmetics and personal care products.

What's At Stake! Get toxic chemicals out of cosmetics and personal care products

Are your products safe? "The chemicals in any one consumer product alone are unlikely to cause harm. But unfortunately, we are repeatedly exposed to industrial chemicals from many different sources on a daily basis, including cosmetics and personal care products...
The European Union (EU) has a new law that requires cosmetics companies to remove chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects from personal care products by September 2004. When they reformulate their products in the EU, these companies could make these safer products available to their other customers around the world as well. That's why the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is calling on all cosmetics and personal care companies to protect our health by phasing out the use of chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other health concerns in every market they serve." Click here for actions to take.

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The Breast Cancer Fund's report State of the Evidence 2004 concludes that exposure to synthetic chemicals and radiation has contributed more than previously thought to the rising incidence of breast cancer.

According to the report, fewer than one in 10 cases of breast cancer occurs in women born with a genetic predisposition for the disease. As many as 50 percent of breast cancer cases remain unexplained by personal characteristics and other traditionally-accepted risk factors; epidemiologists and other scientists increasingly believe many cases are linked to environmental factors. This third edition of the report amasses new evidence from 21 research studies published since February 2003, adding to existing evidence linking toxicants in the environment to breast cancer.

This year, 40,000 women in the United States will die from breast cancer-one death every 13 minutes. The new report was peer-reviewed by six leading scientists, including a noted scientist from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a division of the World Health Organization.

More about breast cancer -- causes and prevention fact sheets and other resources