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How safe are your health and beauty aids
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Cancer a Bigger Killer Than Heart Disease
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How safe are your health and beauty aids?


05:59 PM PDT on Monday, June 14, 2004




A new report says one out of every 100 products on the market today contains known or probable carcinogens. Industry leaders insist their cosmetics are safe and pure, but critics are calling on the government to investigate.


Most people use about nine health and beauty aids every day, but for the most part, the cosmetic industry polices itself. "We found ingredients in cosmetics that do pose potential health risks. We found hundreds of products that contain carcinogens and reproductive toxins. We found hundreds of products that may be misbranded and adulterated," said Jane Houlihan, Environmental Working Group.


The Environmental Working Group discovered progesterone, lead and phthalates in lotions and nail polish, boric acid in acne and diaper creams, and coal tar in shampoos.


The Cosmetic, Fragrance and Toiletries Association maintains its products are completely safe and made with high-quality ingredients.


But critics want the Food and Drug Administration to learn what effect cosmetic chemicals absorbed through the skin may be having, even in low doses. "In human urine, in breast milk, in tumor tissues, scientists are finding are finding surfactants, preservatives… commonly used in personal-care products. These ingredients are ending up in our bodies," continued Houlihan.

No one is suggesting consumers stop using that favorite lipstick or beauty potion, but green groups just want more safety tests and more oversight.


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