Your Cosmetics and Breast Cancer

August 16, 2011

Your Cosmetics and Breast Cancer


Are you or someone you know affected by breast cancer? If so, you might want to consider supporting The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011, which would keep petrochemicals and contaminants linked to cancer out of cosmetics, lotions and soaps.

Right now, plenty of personal products we use in our everyday life contain dangerous ingredients that can be absorbed through the skin, like heavy metals such as lead, and chemicals like formaldehyde, phthalates (often found in fragrances and linked with asthma, birth defects and early puberty) and parabens (hormone-disrupting chemicals associated with breast cancer and reproductive toxicity).

For example, an ingredient commonly found in sunscreen, benzophenone 3, is known to affect estrogen and other hormones by blocking them, mimicking them, or affecting their balance. Estrogen can make hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers grow, so it’s important for women to avoid this ingredient.

Consumer advocates say that because of loopholes in current federal law, the U.S. cosmetics industry in the United States is nearly unregulated and companies can put just about any ingredient into their products regardless of health consequences.

“Under the current system, big cosmetics companies are essentially making the rules and then deciding whether or not to follow them. It’s a classic fox guarding the henhouse situation,” said Janet Nudelman, program director at the Breast Cancer Fund and spokesperson for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.                          

H.R. 2359, The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 legislation is supported by consumer groups such as the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, but like any act it needs the public’s support in Congress. You can help by asking your Representative to support the Safe Cosmetics Act.