The Cancer Fairy Godmother has been asked about the chemicals being placed in cosmetics and what are the risk associated with them. Upon thinking about this question I began to do a little research. It appears that many cosmetics contain chemicals known as parabens and phthalates, which recent studies indicate may be linked to cancer development.
* Parabens are chemical preservatives that have been identified as estrogenic and disruptive of normal hormone function. (Estrogenic chemicals mimic the function of the naturally occurring hormone estrogen, and exposure to external estrogens has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer.)
* Phthalates are known to cause a broad range of birth defects and lifelong reproductive impairments in laboratory animals that are exposed to these chemicals during pregnancy and after birth. Phthalates are also known to be hormone-mimicking chemicals, many of which disrupt normal hormonal processes, raising concern about their implications for increased breast cancer risk.
There are numerous other chemicals of concern in personal care products. BCA is particularly concerned about progesterone, formaldehyde and coal tar due to their links to cancer.
Cosmetic companies will argue that we don’t need to worry about harmful chemicals in their products because they are only used on our skin and hair.
The cosmetics industry has long stated that their widespread use of parabens and phthalates is not harmful because they remain on our skin and are not absorbed into our body.
Many cosmetic companies will also argue that the level of a harmful chemical in any one product is not enough to harm you, based on studies of chemical exposure in adults.