(NaturalNews) There are many toxins in commercial cosmetics. Aluminum is common in most under arm deodorants, for example. Many fragrances contain harmful additives as well. Dr. Samuel Epstein, Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition and author of Toxic Beauty, is openly concerned about Avon calling on The National Cancer Institute (NCI) to create a computerized program of researching and tracking incidents of breast cancer to determine causation.
Dr. Epstein considers this a worthy project, but from an unholy alliance. He has publicly and privately called on Avon to remove all harmful toxins from their products before continuing their courtship with the NCI. There are many others who argue that the NCI itself is not so holy.
Dr. Epstein is concerned mostly about parabens. Parabens are the preservative darlings of the entire cosmetic industry, not just Avon. They are dear to this industry for the same reasons any preservative is to any industry: They're effective and cheap.
As preservatives, parabens are common to most cosmetic products. There has been mounting evidence that parabens are carcinogenic and estrogenic with continued use. Parabens are estrogen mimickers that are easily absorbed into the skin.
Parabens have stimulated premature uterine growth in mice. Besides upsetting hormonal balance, the excess estrogenic effect is also linked to cancer. Laboratory testing has created cancer cells with parabens. So they're rightly considered carcinogenic.
Here's a list of products containing toxic items in addition to parabens that Dr. Epstein itemized in response to a large Avon ad placed in a November 2008 New York Times issue:
Benzophenone-1 (hormonal and penetration enhancer) in Nail Experts Nail Brightener. Methylparaben (hormonal), ethylparaben (hormonal), and imidazolidinyl urea (cancer precursor) in Wash-Off Waterproof Mascara.
Ceteareth-20 (cancer precursor), and disodium EDTA (penetration enhancer) in Advance Techniques Body Building Conditioner. PEG-80 sorbitan laurate, and PEG-10 rapeseed sterol (cancer precursors) in Anew Beauty Youth-Awakening Lipstick.
Dr. Epstein maintains that a decade of research shows even low daily paraben exposure causes estrogenic and carcinogenic problems.
Of course, the cosmetic industry differs. They argue there are "no specific scientifically proven links to cancer." (Wikipedia, source below)