Thursday, January 30, 2014

"Safe" Chemicals Used In Makeup & Skincare Doubles Cancer Risk

Banging The "Chemicals Cause Cancer" Drum Is So Tired!

Well I had hoped to not be broaching this subject yet again. However there was an article that I took exception to this month that was written by a gal in the UK for the Epoch Times. My particular concern is through her attempted proclamations of fact there was not a single link to support her objective.

I have read countless arguments, misconstrued facts, skewed data only to see yet again another article that goes beyond the pale of exploiting the phobia of chemicals by removing the premise that once known "safe" chemicals in low doses are found to be acceptable in things we consume in our everyday lives, may no longer be the case. It has a single purpose, to scare us out of enjoyment of our personal care products based on an ideology.

I have shared within my articles through direct text links to the many studies showing the inaccuracies while always countering with peer reviewed studies where a consensus is formed as to the truth of any research that is conducted. In the interest of keeping this simple, and I do apologize, but since the details are quite involved in the science, direct links to what I share are provided for further reading on your own. But bear with me as I lay out some facts.

Let's Take A Look At How This Statement Has No Basis In Reality

In the authors original article it was titled 'Safe' Household Chemicals Combine To Double Cancer Risk. When you once clicked on this piece the main photo which was showing a factory environment originally addressed directly what she is trying to convey in terms of industry as a whole whether it be environment or household products. The main focus addressed is Bisphenol A.

Then she published another article just a week later from the last published date of the link above, yet it now appears she has combined the two pieces. So we have removed the second link for comparison.  However, though the title and article have been entirely regurgitated, you'll  notice how she decides to gear this piece with an image representing makeup, skincare and personal care products!  In fact the comment beneath the photo is, "Researchers found that the combination of arsenic and estrogen increased cancer in prostate cells. Both chemicals are found in makeup."

Uh... excuse me what study are we referring to in order to make this type of extrapolation? I view this as the worst form of overstating the actual research being performed in this particular study she is pointing to. There is absolutely nothing that correlates to personal care products! Here is the synopsis provided directly from the University.  Click Here and scroll all the way to the bottom.

Let's Clear Up The Nonsense

Remember, I am not defending all chemicals or denying that there aren't many out there that can and do cause harm in our environment and in our bodies, but to try to relate as putting something on our skin because a certain ingredient that is found in our environment whether we breathe it in or ingest it will somehow cause same, is just irresponsible to spread among the populace. This requires blood brain barrier penetration which has yet to be conclusively proven happens in the use of cosmetics or personal care products.

Fact: The researchers at Texas Tech University are studying two chemicals Arsenic and chemicals that can mimic estrogen like BPA, that are taken up in our environment, followed by us then being exposed through ingestion or breathing them in.

Fact: There is no research in this study involving women or the use of personal care products, makeup or other. The study revolves entirely around prostate cancer risk when exposed to these two chemicals. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of chronic exposure to inorganic arsenic such as what is found in pesticides, and estrogen, both alone and in combination. Areas of study were smoking, coal mining, coal burning, and water.

Fact: All studies were performed on mice and in vitro using human prostate epithelial cells (RWPE-1) that were purchased from ATCC and propagated in keratinocyte serum free medium supplemented with human epithelial growth factor and bovine pituitary extract.

Fact: As always the studies showed that in most cases the increased effects in cells were dose dependent showing some significance, yet countered with certain types of genes tested were insignificant. This continued through their different testing to determine which factors show the most significance as it relates to the increase in prostate cancer cells. Never arriving at absolutes at this point!

Fact: The research is only the beginning to try to learn more about our exposures to chemicals in our environment, yet they concede in discussion that these chemicals are ubiquitous in our environment and we will always be exposed to them in our lifetimes. Plus to date it is the only study of it's kind and though published in a peer reviewed journal, this study provides novel data on the regulation of genes involved in epigenetic reprogramming that could help in understanding of epigenetic mechanism for As and E2-induced prostate cancer. Additionally, this finding will serve as the foundation for future studies on the epigenetic basis for environmental carcinogen-induced human cancers.

Now Let's Base Our Ideals In Reality Not Fallacy

So that is the study in a nutshell and I did read the entire abstract until my eyes went crossed and my brain melted. You are welcome to view it HERE, whatever suits your fancy. Although it may be an interesting beginning to learning more, this study has yet to be peer reviewed by their own admission and is a NOVEL study just touching the very tip of this monstrous iceberg, we call scientific research.

It hardly calls for the alarm to be sounded by those that wish to take this further than the reality founded in science. Plus the reference to well water in the Epoch Times article is also of concern, yet the majority of people except for certain countries listed, are drinking either their bottled waters or treated water provided by their respective city. The water that was tested the author referenced was in Cornwall, England and it relates to scattered private wells throughout the community. Original study is here which explains why and how this can occur.

As I continue to read on, it was only when I finally reached the sub chapter "Environmental Sources" of the UK authors article that it all made sense. It smacked of the agenda put forth by the Campaign For Safe Cosmetics trying yet again through this author propagating this same tired mantra, by now trying to tie a prostate cancer study to that of women finding these same chemicals in their makeup.

I might have found her article credible and even remotely interesting until she slipped in this 2nd paragraph right below the sub chapter. "Other sources of arsenic include rice, non-organic chicken, and makeup. According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, some top-brand eyeliners, eye-shadows, mascaras, and foundations can be contaminated with arsenic."

Say what! .....are we eating our cosmetics now? I mean really, why this correlation when the environmental study as it relates to prostate cancer, which was the main focus of her article gets totally lost as soon as she tries to make these two areas related. It simply amazes me when this campaign or it's proponents will seize on a single research study and then use it in an attempt to convince the public "we are doomed" because we use makeup and skincare products. With this latest publication by Epoch Times this anti-chemical agenda is becoming quite transparent, even any comprehension at this level is also lost on the fact that just about everything in life is chemicals, natural or synthetic. They are not mutually exclusive!

Furthermore, the CFSC organization has yet to provide peer reviewed research proving that certain individual chemicals solely are the cause for mimicking estrogen in our bodies, let alone doing anything that we expose our skins surface to. Estrogen comes from many variables including foods, and scientists have been unable to fully identify origins of estrogen types found in our bodies. But I guess it is so much more practical and easier to blame the synthetic chemical industry.

So maybe through ingestion of estrogens since this is a direct feed to our blood brain barrier we can find these in our bodies, but topical application does not extrapolate same unless we are dealing with nano materials such as hormone patches (a drug), not a skin cream (a cosmetic). Natural phytoestrogens are found in plants and produce plant-derived xenoestrogens. Yet in the Texas Tech University study this was also a main component of concern yet we don't know conclusively if natural or synthetics are the culprit.  

National Library Of Medicine / National Institute Of Health (NCBI) has an excellent abstract as to their research on the Pros and Cons of Phytoestrogens. So again, as in life, there will be checks and balances for living our lives and nothing is black and white, although many try to make it so and in many cases it is always to the negative because that is what gets the reader to perk up and take notice, sadly.

As it clearly states not only in the Texas Tech University study but the American Cancer Society provides perspective on environmental factors and how they relate to cancer showing the majority of these exposures are ubiquitous and we consume them through fruits and vegetables, tap water, smoking, exposure in manufacturing, pollutants, etc.

So Let's Bring This Baby Home

The very last thing she states in her Epoch News article is, "Health campaigners recommend limiting exposure to these hormone disruptors by consuming organic food, drinking filtered water, and using natural personal-care and cleaning products."

Okay now let's examine the reality of this statement which shows a lack of understanding the truth in regard to a chemical being ubiquitous and we'll use the claim from the CFSC in Rice for an example.

Arsenic is divided into 2 broad categories: Organic arsenic and inorganic arsenic.

Organic arsenic is essentially harmless and is ubiquitous in our environment. Inorganic is created through use of different pesticides. And higher trace levels of inorganic or organic arsenic, depending on where it is grown, are found in brown rice rather than in white rice since white rice is essentially brown rice, stripped.

The FDA has weighed in on rice food products and has done testing, and the European Food Safety Authority, the United Nations Codex Alimentarious Commission and China’s Food Safety Commission are trying to establish limits for inorganic arsenic in foods, including rice. China has a maximum level for total arsenic in rice of 0.4 microgram per kilogram. Note this is addressing foodstuffs!

Plants accumulate organic arsenic because it protects them from harmful micro-organisms, especially fungi. Rice isn’t unique in this.

“All plants pick up arsenic,” states John M. Duxbury, PhD, a professor of soil science and international agriculture at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. “Concentrations in leaves of plants are much higher than in grains of plants. Thus, leafy vegetables can contain higher levels of arsenic than rice, especially when they are grown on arsenic-contaminated soils."

So the statement of fact is: although they are measuring arsenic levels in food products reflected in these statements, the reminder is, ingestion is not the same as topical application in any context. This is especially true when our skin acts like a barrier, making it practically impermeable to things in our environment. Plus through critical thinking we must acknowledge all food, including our healthy, leafy greens contain some measure of this contaminant making consumption literally impossible to avoid. Yet, the many proven health benefits we get from consuming fruits and vegetables watered and grown in any soil can far outweigh trace amounts of any contaminant found within the plant itself.

Last Time I Wish To Revisit This Issue

Although I keep tabs on articles that stretch the facts and reach for the moon, I really am no longer interested in pursuing this side of the industry. I will simply refer to this article analysis since it is based on the fact this Epoch Times piece goes beyond reporting when trying to string an environmental agenda together with a safe cosmetics campaign. Both completely different areas in consumption of contaminants, yet it does create one piece of "sensationalism" all for piquing ones real fear to chemicals. It is not the right thing to do and it is negates the true research since it gets lost in the blinding rhetoric.

Besides, if this is what the author truly believes and clearly she must since she wrote it, then on her recommendation of using natural products, she should be well advised of the fact that all natural products have less testing performed for safety and allergens than their synthetic counterparts, and the ingredients used even after a level of purification, may still include trace elements of all the contaminants she is worried about.

Plants are grown in soil, they take up rain or irrigation water and as it has been stated repeatedly throughout these links I provided, organic arsenic is there and will always be there in our foods and water until the end of time. So unless one plans to starve themselves or waste away from thirst, this is the inconvenient truth, whether we care to believe it or not.

I vote for consumer freedom and getting at the truth in research and I continue to advise everyone to check and double check the resource in order to gain a perspective of what the true agenda is of the person writing the article. Never take things at face value! This is still a favorite write up by The Center For Consumer Freedom in regard to NGO's and another great piece written with the assistance of the Society of Toxicology, on how the media continually overstates risk. Now, last but not least and I think my most favorite article since it really drives the science home is The Journal of Toxicology of the NCBI states quite clearly that the parent company EWG of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has got it wrong, again.

UPDATE: Dana Joel Gattuso is Director of the Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs at the National Center for Public Policy Research.  She wrote a wonderful piece which explains articulately what we have been facing for many years including proposed regulation, which on it's face has created acrimony within our industry, and this story will provide insight and hopefully restore sanity and clarify the agenda behind it. The True Story of Cosmetics addresses the ongoing smear campaign against our industry by Organizations such as the Environmental Working Group and Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

Well it's been fun and I think I have provided plenty of substantive science to correct much of the junk science floating across the internet, but this gal has covered this type of issue for the last time. Now on to more pleasant things such as keeping in step with a fabulous life ahead!


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1 comment:

  1. A big thank you in response to an email from one of our readers / customers:

    Katherine Corkill,

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