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."
An op-ed by Janet Nudelman, our director of program and policy, posted on The Hill drives home the point: the "better living through chemistry" paradigm is dying, and Congress must fix the 37-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to save lives:
"Under the current law, chemical manufacturers have close to no responsibility to prove chemicals are safe before being used in commerce, and the government has almost no authority to ban hazardous chemicals. Under TSCA it’s perfectly legal to use formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride, asbestos and other known or suspected carcinogens to make items we use every day, including household cleaners, furniture and plastics."
One month after our President and CEO Jeanne Rizzo testified before Congress on reforming our chemicals regulatory system, the Breast Cancer Fund has again been asked to represent the public health community before Congress.
On Wednesday, July 31, our Senior Policy Strategist Nancy Buermeyer, will be testifying at a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing convened by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. The Committee is considering legislation that could fix the broken chemical management system in this country. The big question is: Will this effort to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act prioritize public health?
The Breast Cancer Fund will testify about the disproportionate impact toxic exposures have on vulnerable populations—including factory workers, pregnant women, children and people living in heavily polluted communities.
Nancy has been working on federal policy for 25 years, and this is her first time testifying before Congress. She feels honored to represent the 3 million women and men survivors of breast cancer, the millions we have lost, and those who she hopes will be spared ever having to get that diagnosis because Congress will act to protect the public from toxic exposures linked to disease.
For more than a decade Nancy has advocated for stronger laws governing synthetic chemicals. She played a leading role in one of the Breast Cancer Fund's biggest victories: a 2008 federal ban on phthalates in children's toys. She has also successfully advocated for increased federal funding of biomonitoring and health tracking programs. As a member of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Steering Committee, she works with stakeholders in the environmental, health and business communities to shape comprehensive chemicals policy that protects public health and the environment.
Not only has Nancy successfully advocated for safer chemicals, she has also helped pass laws that protected lesbian and gay federal workers from job discrimination. She repealed the ban on women in combat aviation positions in the U.S. military and helped pass the Federal Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, making it a federal crime to bar women from entering a reproductive health clinic.
On Wednesday, Nancy will speak on behalf of all of us who care deeply about breast cancer to urge Congress to prioritize our concerns over those of the chemical industry.
Today, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., introduced the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2013, which would give the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate the products we use for grooming, primping and beautifying.
Loopholes in current federal law have left the U.S. cosmetics industry basically unregulated. That means that companies can put ingredients linked to breast cancer (or any other other disease), including phthalates, 1,4-dioxane, parabens and ethylene oxide in everything from shampoo to hand soap to lipstick.
Instead of meeting public demand for truly healthier products, the cosmetics industry would prefer to maintain the status quo. In fact, the industry has spent more than $3.5 million lobbying against similar legislation, according to ABC News.
The 1938 law that currently regulates cosmetics companies has created a free-for-all—one in which consumers are the big losers. Companies essentially can put whatever they want in their products and they don’t even have to tell the public about the ingredients they use. To top it off, they can slap an organic, natural or unscented label on a product, with no oversight. As a result, the majority of chemicals in cosmetics have not been assessed for safety, and more than 500 products sold to U.S. consumers contain ingredients banned in cosmetics in Japan, Canada or the European Union, according to the Environmental Working Group.
At the Breast Cancer Fund we believe preventing exposure to environmental risk factors, including exposures to harmful chemicals in personal care products, will enable us to protect women from being diagnosed with breast cancer in the first place.
Tell your member of Congress that it’s time to fix this broken regulatory system. Take action today.
A new dietary intervention study suggests that an individual may not be able to avoid food packaging chemicals like phthalates (plastic softeners) and BPA (found in canned foods and older hard plastic containers) by cutting out canned and plastic-wrapped foods because these chemicals can—and do—enter the food during processing.
The researchers were puzzled by this finding—our study found phthalate and BPA levels declined during the intervention diet—so they followed up by testing spices and dairy used in the intervention diet. They found high levels of DEHP in spices like coriander, cinnamon and cayenne pepper, as well as in dairy products.
The researchers also found modest increases in BPA during the intervention. This finding may be due to a study population who already ate mostly fresh foods—in fact, only three of the 10 families who participated indicated eating canned foods.
These findings underscore the need for federal reform of food contact laws that can ensure chemicals linked to hormone disruption don't end up in our food supply. The FDA has the authority to regulate chemicals our food touches at all points in the process from field to table: from the type of plastic tubing used in milking equipment, to the containers spices are held in before being divvied up in store-shelf sizes, to the plastic wrap on supermarket cheese.
Our role is to see that the FDA actually uses this power to protect our health.
What does it take for a modern American family to lower its BPA levels? Author Florence Williams offers a peek into her stint in the nearly-plastic-free world in an opinion piece for the New York Times:
On the second day of my chemical-detox diet, I was very hungry. I’d been eating like a rabbit, all carrots and greens that I’d gathered, barehanded, from the baskets of the farmer’s market, no gloves or plastic bags allowed. I cooked up some quinoa that I bought packaged in paper from the supermarket sometimes known as Whole Paycheck. I was effectively a vegan because I couldn’t find meat or cheese that wasn’t wrapped in plastic, and I didn’t have access to accommodating livestock.
My 7-year-old daughter and I were participating in a pilot study conducted in 2011 by the Silent Spring Institute and the Breast Cancer Fund (a follow-up study was published later that year in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives). We had urinated into some glass containers a few weeks earlier, back when we were "normal" Americans, and now we were spending three days trying to reduce our exposure to plastics before supplying our urine again.
As Williams notes, the "normal" phase of the study, which allowed for painted toenails and canned beans, was more fun. Yet it's possible to create modern conveniences that don't leave toxic traces in their human consumers.
Says Williams, "It's why we need the government to require testing of commercial chemicals for hormonal effects, and to regulate them in a meaningful way. And it's why we need manufacturers to design products with safer substances in the first place." (Read complete article.)
Our own Jeanne Rizzo published her thoughts about the recent Canadian factory worker study on Huffington Post yesterday. Now we have evidence that women who are exposed to hormone-disrupting chemicals in food canning and plastics factories have a sharply higher risk of breast cancer—so what will we do about it? And who will act on behalf of these women?
Unfortunately for these women workers and for all of us (for we too are exposed to some of these chemicals on a daily basis), many industry and government leaders refuse to act based on biological plausibility. Instead, they prefer plausible deniability, saying we need more and more and more evidence—incontrovertible truth, in fact—before we take action. (Read complete article.)
Florence Williams, author of the acclaimed book, Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History, spoke with Breast Cancer Fund President and CEO Jeanne Rizzo for a piece on The Daily Beast describing a new Canadian study.
The study authors found a higher risk of premenopausal breast cancer among women working in factories that make canned foods and plastic parts for automobiles:
Both the automotive and canning industries are known to use chemicals that affect hormone systems in lab animals, such as BPA, phthalates, and flame-retardants. Phthalates, which are used to make plastic malleable for molding car interiors, have been associated with lower sperm counts in men. BPA, used in the lining of food cans, has been banned from some products in Canada.
“The U.S. has not conducted this kind of workplace study,” said Jeanne Rizzo, president of the Breast Cancer Fund, a California-based nonprofit. “Federal agencies should immediately look into similar occupations in this country and take this seriously.” (Read complete article.)