Personal Hygiene Products
CREST toothpaste lists saccharin and FD&C Blue No. 1 on its label. A clear-cut bladder carcinogen in animal studies (with some evidence from human studies), saccharin has been rated carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) for a decade. (Cancer warnings for saccharin are required on artificial sweeteners.) Children and adults absorb the saccharin by swallowing or through the tissue in their mouths. FD&C Blue No. 1 has also caused tumors in experimental animals. Crest should not be singled out. Many other brands, including Colgate, also contain these two toxic substances.
2. The main ingredient in JOHNSON’S BABY POWDER is talc. In 1982, Daniel Cramer, M.D., an obstetrician and gynecologist, found that women who used talc for feminine hygiene had a three-fold increase in their risk of ovarian cancer. Additional reports in Lancet (1979), Cancer (1982), and Obstetrics & Gynecology (1992) confirm the risk associated with frequent and prolonged use of talcum powder in the genital area. In 1994 the Cancer Prevention Coalition in Chicago petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require a label warning on this product. The FDA has not acted on this matter.
3. ORTHO WEED-B-GON LAWN WEED KILLER contains 2,4-D Agricultural studies by National Cancer Institute (NCI) researchers strongly link exposure to this chemical with high cancer rates. Another NCI study found that dogs whose owners use 2,4-D weed killers have higher rates of cancer.
4. LYSOL DISINFECTANT SPRAY may contain ortho-phenylphenol. This germ killer is carcinogenic, according to both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and IARC. Lyson’s manufacturer stopped using this ingredient in 1995, but I still see cans of Lysol containing ortho-phenylphenol on store shelves. Be sure to read the label when buying this product. The older formula of Lysol, which does contain this chemical, is particularly troubling because as a spray it can be inhaled deeply into the lungs.
5. BONNE BELL GRAPE LIP SMACKER FLAVORED LIP GLOSS, which is marketed to teenagers, contains saccharin and FD&C Blue No. 1 (both of which are discussed on page 56). Although this product is not directly ingested, these ingredients can be absorbed through the skin on the lips, or through the mucous membrane in the mouth. This lip gloss also contains fragrances and propylene glycol, two of the leading causes of contact dermatitis, an allergic skin reaction.
6. COVER GIRL REPLENISHING NATURAL FINISH MAKE-UP contains several potentially toxic ingredients, but no warnings. The first is butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), which is carcinogenic, according to IARC. The second, triethanolamine, which keeps the makeup moist, can combine with nitrite contaminants to form carcinogenic nitrosamines. An FDA report done in 1988 found 30 percent of cosmetic products contained these carcinogens. A third ingredient, lanolin, is perfectly safe by itself; however, it may be contaminated with pesticides. According to a 1993 report from the National Research Council, some 16 pesticides were identified in lanolin; diazinon [sic], a neurotoxin, was found in 21 of 25 samples.
7. CLAIROL NICE ‘N EASY hair dye contains par-phenylenediamine, a dye that was recently shown to induce breast cancer in animals. It also contains quaternium 15, a preservative that often causes allergic reactions. One-fifth of cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma among women are linked to hair-dye use. Indeed, more than a dozen studies link hair dyes with cancer, yet the FDA requires no warning of this hazard on product labels. Clairol is not the only hair dye to pose these risks. Many other brands, including L’Oreal, and Revlon, contain similar chemicals.
8. GRECIAN FORMULA for men contains lead acetate. Lead damages the nervous, circulatory, and reproductive systems. And this particular form of lead can penetrate skin. Recently, researchers at Xavier University found that large amounts of lead are left on the fingers of adults and children who rub their hands through the hair of men using lead-based anti-gray products. The FDA has suggested it will "study" the situation, according to a February 5, 1997 Associated Press report. While they do that, Karen Filkins, M.D., director of reproductive genetics at West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh, says, "Avoid products that could contain lead, especially if you are pregnant. And prevent exposure to young children".
Please continue to chemicals in Pet products