Cancer Causing Cosmetics: Poisons in Your Bathroom

by Dr. Nalini Chilkov

Ice blue Eyeshadow on green eye, using mac cos...
Image by pumpkincat210 via Flickr

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 pthalatescoal 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 Environment published 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!

You may also like:

Is Soy Safe? Breast Cancer and Menopause

Beware: Antiobiotics Linked To Breast Cancer

Books I recommend:

Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry

No More Dirty Looks: The Truth about Your Beauty Products–and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics

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  2. Julie Conant says:

    My friend and I discuss issues with cosmetics quite a bit. It’s great if you can carry a list around of known toxic chemicals but what I would find easier, as a consumer, would be a list of ‘safe’ cosmetic products or brands so I know I can trust them. I know there are plenty of sites that claim to have great products with phrases like ‘all-natural’ or ‘eco-friendly’ but do you know of a credible site that offers information on the good products in case we forget our list of ingredients or can’t remember all of them? Great post! We all need to be more aware of what we put on, and inside, our bodies = ) I know personally, I worry about deodorants but haven’t been able to find a ‘healthier’ version that actually works! Thanks for the info!

  3. Yes, it is challenging. There are brands that are committed to safety. For deoderant I recommend using the salt crystals. Very safe. Does the job, no chemicals.

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