"For years, the The Breast Cancer Fund has fought for true breast cancer prevention—not just early detection of the disease but actually stopping cancer before it invades the body. The group focuses on getting toxic chemicals out of everyday products."
The Salt Lake Tribune reports on the LEGACY Girls study, a longterm study focusing on the influence of behavior, environment and diet on pubertal growth in girls aged 6 to 13 years. LEGACY, which is funded by the National Cancer Institute, is an acronym for Lessons in Epidemiology and Genetics of Adult Cancer from Youth. At Breast Cancer Registry sites in San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, Toronto and Salt Lake City the girls and their guardians answer questionnaires every six months about exercise habits, the food they eat and the cosmetics, hair gels and perfumes they use. The girls will be measured and weighed, and also provide samples of saliva and urine to test for hormonal and genetic changes.
Breast Cancer Fund President and CEO Jeanne Rizzo was quoted in the article, saying that studies like LEGACY are valuable because they provide a broad sweep of data.
“When you go to the doctor, they may ask if you smoke or drink alcohol, but they don't ask anything about workplace exposures or what chemicals you use,” she said. “So when we turn around and try to understand how a person gets sick, we don't have the data.”
But with all the chemicals linked to cancer and other serious health concerns in Revlon products, no woman should take that dare. To make things worse, Revlon—one of the biggest cosmetics manufacturers in the world—is running ads promoting its support of breast cancer awareness. Do you smell the scent of irony? Do you see the glimmering shades of hypocrisy?
The Breast Cancer Fund and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics teamed up with online women’s group UltraViolet to demand the company drop these and other dangerous chemicals from its products.
While Revlon continues to use toxic chemicals, industry leaders are moving toward safer cosmetics. Thanks to our collective efforts, in just the past two years, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble agreed to reformulate their personal care products to remove certain toxic chemicals. And Walmart and Target are taking steps to help keep dangerous chemicals off their shelves. Now it’s time for Revlon to move.
This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, tell Revlon that if it really cares about cancer—and if it dares to take credit for helping women with cancer—it’s time to come clean and remove toxic chemicals from its products.
"We've been seeing mercury in face cream, formaldehyde in hair straightening products, heavy metals in lipsticks and lip glosses," explained Janet Nudelman, the Director of Program and Policy for the Breast Cancer Fund and Co-Founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. “Lead in lipstick, these are connected to cancer, reproductive and development harm.”
"Consumer concerns have led manufacturers to remove it from baby bottles
and infant formula packaging, but BPA could pose a risk to children long
before they take their first sip of milk, according to the Breast
This San Jose Mercury News article tells the story of how a bootstrap effort to examine ingredients in cosmetics grew into a national movement, also known as our Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, and transformed the personal care products industry.
"'They really moved the needle on this,' Tracey Woodruff, director of the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment at UC San Francisco, said of the campaign. 'The way that we think about cosmetics and chemicals has changed because of the work that they did.'"
A sidebar outlines major milestones of the Safe Cosmetics Movement, including:
"2001: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention releases the first National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, a study of 27 chemicals in people, including seven types of phthalates. Scientists found women of childbearing age had the highest levels of certain phthalates -- in some cases, above the federal safety standard.
2002: Jane Houlihan, Charlotte Brody and Bryony Schwan, founding members of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, co-author "Not Too Pretty," a report detailing phthalates levels in common beauty products.
2004: The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is founded in San Francisco. The group sends letters to 250 cosmetics companies asking them to reformulate products and eliminate any hazardous ingredients.
2005: The California Safe Cosmetics Act is signed into law, requiring manufacturers and distributors that sell cosmetic products in the state report to the Department of Public Health ingredients known or suspected to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.
2006: California signs into law the California Environmental Contaminant Biomonitoring Program, the first state-level biomonitoring program, to study chemical levels in people.
2008: A study by the National Academies shows that phthalates can affect the development of the male reproductive system.
2009: The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics releases "No More Toxic Tub," a study that shows chemicals associated with cancer in baby products, including Johnson & Johnson brands.
2009: A University of Michigan study shows phthalates exposure may lead to premature births. A 2011 study from the same university confirms that phthalates interfere with thyroid functions in humans, potentially disrupting reproduction systems, metabolism and energy balance.
2010: Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., introduces for the first time a federal Safe Cosmetics Act in Congress, outlining new regulations for cosmetic ingredient testing, product labeling and safety standards.
2011: Johnson & Johnson announces it will eliminate from baby products certain preservatives that release formaldehyde and other chemicals that have been linked to cancer by 2013. A year later, it promises to remove potentially harmful chemicals from all adult products by 2015, becoming the first major consumer products company to make such a widespread commitment.
March 2013: Schakowsky introduces a new draft of the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act. The bill has not been taken up for consideration by Congress.
September 2013: Procter & Gamble announces the elimination of some phthalates and triclosan, chemicals that some studies have linked to cancer and reproductive harm.
September 2013: Walmart announces a new chemical policy requiring that beginning in January suppliers reduce or eliminate about 10 chemicals commonly used in beauty products, household cleaners and cosmetics. Walmart has declined to make the list of chemicals public.
October 2013: Target begins collecting ingredient information for 7,500 products including household cleaners, personal care and baby care. Target will rate each product on a scale of zero to 100, based on the manufacturer's transparency about ingredients and the product's environmental and health impacts. In 2014, Target will begin rating cosmetics for safety using the new standards.
December 2013: Deadline for the California Department of Public Health to publish an online database that will allow the public to search for any beauty product and get a list of ingredients, based on information the state collects through the Safe Cosmetics Act.Francisco, said of the campaign. 'The way that we think about cosmetics and chemicals has changed because of the work that they did.'"
After ten years of fighting for safer makeup, shampoos, and lotions, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics scored two important victories this week when Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, and Procter & Gamble (P&G), the largest consumer goods maker in the country, announced they were taking steps to reduce the toxic chemicals found on store shelves and in everyday products.
On Thursday, Walmart announced it was committed to banning as many as 10 toxic chemicals from products sold in its stores, including national and store-brand cosmetics, personal and beauty products, and household cleaners.
Last week it was reported that P&G decided to eliminate the toxic chemicals triclosan and DEP, an ingredient found in fragrances, from all its products globally by 2014. One of the chemicals that Walmart plans to ban is also expected to be triclosan, found in everything from toothpaste to hand sanitizer to moisturizers. Both chemicals have been targeted for removal by the Campaign because of their links to breast cancer and reproductive harm.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics credits adoption of these and a growing number of other “safe cosmetics” chemical policies by retailers and manufacturers to a vocal and growing public demand that everyday products like make-up, shampoo, lotions, and sunscreen be free of chemicals that harm human health. Over the last decade, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released groundbreaking reports that revealed lead in lipstick, heavy metals in kid’s face paint,toxic formaldehyde in baby shampoo, and hormone-disrupting chemicals in fragrances, casting a spotlight on the breadth of cosmetics and personal care products containing chemicals linked to adverse health effects. In response, a majority of consumers have been voting with their pocketbooks and choosing to support safer products made without toxic chemicals.
Janet Nudelman, director of program and policy for the Breast Cancer Fund and co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, said:
“The message that tens of thousands of consumers have been sending for the past decade is finally getting through: toxic chemicals don’t belong in the personal care products we use every day. It’s so heartening to see our years of hard work paying off. There are two things I’d like to say to Walmart and P&G: Congratulations for this important first step in the right direction. But please don’t wait another 10 years to finish the job – there’s lots more to do to ensure that all of your cosmetics and personal care products are safe for everyone.”
Janet Nudelman, the director of program and policy at the Breast Cancer Fund and co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, was quoted in a Cincinnati Enquirer article about the announcement:
“The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics congratulates P&G for taking bold
and globally significant action to protect the health of its 4.8 billion
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has been urging companies to eliminate phthalates from personal care products since 2002, according to the Campaign's press release on P & G's announcement. Because of this pressure, many cosmetics companies have stopped using two dangerous phthalates, DBP and DEHP, but the industry has continued to widely use DEP in fragrance.
Advocates agree that as one of the largest consumer product companies in the world, Proctor & Gamble's decision is one step in the right direction.
A must-read: Orion Magazine piece (which cites the Breast Cancer Fund many times) on the business of breast cancer, making another firm case for moving beyond the pink, beyond "awareness" and into an era of prevention.
The author mentions the Breast Cancer Fund's landmark report State of the Evidence multiple times throughout the article and identifies some of the "jaw-dropping list of chemical compounds known or suspected to cause breast cancer."
"According to the Breast Cancer Fund’s report State of the Evidence: The Connection Between Breast Cancer and the Environment, exposure to ionizing radiation is the 'best- and longest-established environmental cause of human breast cancer.' Simply put, this means that the very test meant to save women from the ravages of breast cancer may over time actually increase their risk of the disease."
It's not just the ladies who are exposed to chemicals that
reduce fertility or may cause cancer. There are plenty of toxic
chemicals in men's products as well, especially those marketed to
teenage boys, according to a Huffington Post piece by Breast Cancer Fund Director of Program and Policy Janet Nudelman.
A recent analysis by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics indicates that many
men's personal care products contain a range of unsafe chemicals of concern linked to
cancer and reproductive and developmental harm, including lead acetate, triclosan and coal tar among others.