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Article posted Jun 22 2007, 6:26 PM Category: Health Source: The Telegraph Print

Body absorbs 5lb of make-up chemicals a year

By Paul Stokes

Women who use make-up on a daily basis are absorbing almost 5lb of chemicals a year into their bodies, it is claimed.

Many use more than 20 different beauty products a day striving to look their best while nine out of 10 apply make-up which is past its use by date.

Dependence on cosmetics and toiletries means that a cocktail of 4lb 6oz of chemicals a year is absorbed into the body through the skin.

Some synthetic compounds involved have been linked to side effects ranging from skin irritation to premature ageing and cancer.

Richard Bence, a biochemist who has spent three years researching conventional products, said: "We really need to start questioning the products we are putting on our skin and not just assume that the chemicals in them are safe.

"We have no idea what these chemicals do when they are mixed together, the effect could be much greater than the sum of the individual parts." Mr Bence, an advocate of organic beauty products, believes that absorbing chemicals through the skin in more dangerous than swallowing them.

He said: "If lipstick gets into your mouth it is broken down by the enzymes in saliva and in the stomach. But chemicals get straight into your bloodstream, there is no protection."

Warnings over using out-of-date lipstick and mascara have also been issued by the Royal College of Optometrists which believes such items are a "hothouse" for harmful bacteria.

Clio Turton, of the Soil Association, said: "Many women are using over 20 different products a day, bombarding themselves with hundreds of different chemicals. They should be asking themselves 'is that eyelash conditioner really essential?' "

Among chemicals under scrutiny are parabens (para-hydroxybenzoic acids) which are preservatives used in products including soap, shampoo, deodorant and baby lotion. Traces of parabens have been found in breast tumour samples, although its link to the development of the cancer is disputed.

Sodium lauryl sulphate, used to help create lather in soaps, shampoo, shaving foam, toothpaste and bubble bath, can cause skin irritation.

The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association said there was no reason for worry because the products were covered by European Union rules requiring them to be safe.

A spokesman said: "The cocktail effect is an urban myth. We do know how different chemicals react individually and can predict how they interact with each other and this is taken into account when the safety of products is assessed."

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Comments 1 - 2 of 2 Add Comment Page 1 of 1

Posted: Jul 01 2007, 6:18 PM

The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association's spokesman is lying. They cannot predict their interaction accurately, especially in the body. The EU legislature is in its infancy: only a few chemicals have been studied in order to pass them for use. Firms are not required to remove products until all are tested, but only afterwards. However, they are liable, if we can prove them to be unsafe, which of course we can't. It is our intuition and concern for our own health and children's which is being ridiculed.

The cocktail effect is not an urban myth: it is a recent concern that has hardly been addressed. Urban myth is invoked in order to blind with words: the choice of words is ridiculous: people use cosmetics in semi-rural and rural areas: is it a rural myth? I think the proper domain is public, rather than urban.
What he is suggesting is that people are foolish to be concerned at all, he'd rather we weren't concerned and must stop being concerned or they'll tease the public, who after all believe anything, huh.May I remind him , that we're also concerned for our daughters of five years old. He's asking us to believe him though, as spokesman for the industry.
I know good skin sensitivity tests exist. But these do not cover accumulation in the body or interactions throughout the body, or even in the basal epidermis. These would require long term studies, are nigh on impossible to set up (never will be conducted) and there is only evidence in rare cases to demonstrate the non-accumulation of molecular compounds, even less to demonstrate the non-accumulation of by-products produced through a) interactions in the cosmetic, b) interactions of these with the body - none so far as I know, and as I said above, not predictable. For example, how could you possibly predict the effect of interactions on a person without eczema and a person with atopic eczema. Effects will vary according to hormonal state, mood, diet, season, age, sex, and ahost of metabolic differences.

Perhaps the man has no chemical/medical training and is saying this for his supper, perhaps he is trained, but is a fool nontheless. I suggest he takes on board a few urban myths to boost his intelligence. oh, and leave his job, read this site, and become a freedom fighter. With his talents the spokesman could persuade the corrupt powers that their corruption can't work, and that a simple life of poverty would bring them happiness. Then, provide them with a transport (sandals) to a jungle to exchange for their own lives their nicknacks, lifestyles and weapons of destruction with tigers.

Posted: Nov 02 2007, 3:46 PM

If you are not supposed to take these products to the dump, but rather dispose of them with the Hazardous Waste Management office, why WHY WHY would anyone ever put them on their body???

oh, that's right, because we are human and not perfect, but we are told by the media that we are supposed to look like cartoons or plastic dolls rather than actual living beings made of flesh and bone. And people just do what they are told, without ever questioning what they are doing!

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