Is Cancer in your tub?
On February 23, 1993, CBS's morning talk show, This Morning
reported the findings of a study from the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services' National Toxicology Program that sent
shock-waves throughout the cosmetics and personal care products industries.
Deithanolamine, when applied to the skin, resulted in clear
evidence of carcinogenic (causing or contributing to cancer) activity.
Diethanolamine was selected for evaluation because its large-scale
production and pattern of use indicate potential for widespread human exposure,
this from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Toxicology
Program- NTPTR478. This 2 year study concluded in late 1997.
...is an ingredient formulated into soaps, detergents and
surfactants and it is found in over 600 home and personal care products.
These products include shampoos, conditioners, bubble baths, lotions,
cosmetics, soaps, laundry and dishwashing detergents. It's just one of an
estimated 125 ingredients formulated into our home and personal care
products suspected of carcinogenic activity (causing or contributing to
cancer); or, of being potentially dangerous or hazardous to our health.
And We Wonder Why Cancer Rates Are Soaring...
Hmmm? An ingredient used for decades in products that we
expose ourselves to day after day, many times for hour after hour
(cosmetics and lotions), and just now we find out it contributes to
This is nothing new. After decades of smoking tobacco, studies
proving that tobacco causes cancer were published in the 70's; yet
cigarettes are still sold and people still smoke. In 1938, when the FDA
published guidelines regarding suitable levels of ingredients in products for
human use, little was know about long term exposure. Quite possibly the
absorption of these toxins through the skin was not even considered. Substances
believe safe for human use and now being proven otherwise; should not be
DEA, a know toxin in industrial applications, but believed safe for personal care products in smaller amounts some time ago, has now been proven to cause cancer when applied to the skin of rats. As expected the cosmetic industry response is something like "has not been
proven...in humans" or "our products are formulated within strict FDA guidelines."
Dr. Samuel Epstein has quite a difference response! He is
author of "The Safe Shopper's Bible", founder of The American Coalition to
Prevent Cancer and is considered the world's leading authority on toxicology. He has issued a stern warning regarding the use of cocamide DEA or lauramide DEA. Many products contain DEA and other suspect chemical compounds and don't have warnings; even though many products
formulations contain ingredients (or their contaminants) that cause or lead to
carcinogenic (cancer causing) activity.
DEA is just the tip of the iceburg!
Senator Kennedy's Web Site http://www.senate.gov/ offers a
unique window into the issues. Kennedy's office has authored several letters sighting over 125 ingredients commonly formulated into our everyday home care and personal care products as potential carcinogens or potential health hazards. This effort is aimed at the cosmetic industry's attempt to expedite self-serving exemptions from pending or proposed legislation that would
require warning labels on many common items.
As with DEA, other ingredients are going to be tested. Many
years would pass. Cancer rates and other illness will continue to soar.
Debate and legislation will progress at a snail pace. But the health
consequences associated with continued use will continue regardless.