Everyday we use a myriad of personal care products on our bodies from soaps and lotions to shampoos and conditioners, makeup and shaving creams. The ingredients in personal care products are largely unregulated. Chemicals found in cosmetics and personal care products are currently unregulated. Ingredients such as pthalates, coal tar, talc and parabens have been linked to increased risk of cancer. Many have been banned in Europe but not in the United States. Two excellent sources of information about toxic chemicals in our cosmetics are FemmeToxic (see their list of the “ToxicTwenty”, the most dangerous chemicals to avoid and Environmental Working Group‘s Skin Deep Cosmetics Ingredients Database. These site provide excellent information about the chemicals contained in your makeup and body care products that carry increased risks for causing cancer. Because women use twice as many body care products and cosmetics as men, the risks associated with cosmetics use is much greater for women.
This year the 6th edition of State of the Evidence: The Connection between Breast Cancer and the Environmentpublished by the Breast Cancer Fund comprehensively covers the links between environmental chemicals and breast cancer. There is an excellent section on cosmetics and breast cancer. A report from the Silent Spring Institute states, “laboratory studies suggest many of these chemicals may cause breast tumors, hasten their growth, or leave mammary glands more vulnerable to carcinogens.”
Here is a video “THE STORY OF COSMETICS” by The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics to get you thinking about the poisons we put on our bodies everyday. It’s time to clean out your bathroom cabinet and start reading labels!
- Jeanne Rizzo: It’s Time for Breast Cancer Prevention Month (huffingtonpost.com)
- Toxic Chemicals in Cosmetics: New Bill Reforms Personal Care Products Law (prnewswire.com)
- Ask Umbra addresses environmental links to breast cancer (grist.org)