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Originally published April 23 2007

Cosmetics products routinely formulated with cancer-causing chemicals

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

An environmental coalition known as the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is pressuring the U.S. government to institute regulations on the use of toxic chemicals in cosmetics and other personal care products. Studies have found that toxic chemicals are regularly used in such products, but are not labeled for consumers.

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What you need to know - Conventional View

• According to a study conducted by the Environmental Working Group, a member of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, one in every 120 cosmetics out of the 7,500 tested contained at least one known or likely carcinogen.

• The items found to be contaminated included lip balms, lotions, makeup and shampoos.

• The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics announced in January that more than 500 manufacturers of personal care products have signed a pledge to replace toxic ingredients in their merchandise. These companies include The Body Shop and Burt's Bees, but none of the mainstream cosmetics manufacturers.

• A trade group known as The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association has insisted that all products on the market are safe.

• The majority of cosmetics -- with certain exceptions such as sunscreen and anti-dandruff shampoo -- are not regulated by the FDA, meaning there is no required testing and no oversight on any voluntarily safety tests that a company may choose to conduct.

• Quote: "The FDA has no authority to tell us whether or not products are safe and as a consequence there are ingredients in cosmetics that are used very widely that have not been tested." - Dr. Devra Davis, director of the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute

What you need to know - Alternative View

Statements and opinions by Mike Adams, executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center

• Most mainstream cosmetic products contain chemicals known to be harmful to human health. To protect your health, avoid mainstream cosmetic and personal care products entirely.

• Only purchase cosmetics from eco-friendly, "natural" companies like Pangea Organics ( or the Amazon Herb Company (Lluvia line).

• There are many natural cosmetics companies that now exist. Check their website, read their ingredients, and don't be fooled by names alone. Many "organics" companies don't actually use organic ingredients. (Read the labels!)

Bottom line

• Due to a lack of federal oversight, many toxic chemicals are widely used in cosmetics products.

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