Chemicals in Our Daily Lives


CV Skinlabs is devoted to raising awareness about toxins in our personal care products, food, and the environment, for one reason only-to try to reduce risk of disease and help save American lives.  Again and again health organizations around the world are pointing to toxins as probable culprits in illnesses like cancer, neurological conditions, respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease, and more. Below is just a snapshot of the connection between toxins and health problems:

  • In a statement for healthcare professionals, the American Heart Association said that epidemiological studies have found “consistent increased risk for cardiovascular events” in relation to both short- and long-term exposure to air pollution.1
  • The chemical bisephenol A (BPA), used to make plastics, has been linked to breast cancer, prostate cancer, and childhood development problems because of its ability to mimic hormones in the body, yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found it in the bodies of 93 percent of Americans tested.2
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for action on 10 chemicals of “major health concern,” including air pollution, benzene, dioxins & dioxin-like substances, lead, mercury, and hazardous pesticides.3
  • The Cancer Prevention Coalition stated in a letter to Congress that herbicides and hair dyes were contributing to the rise in cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and that breast cancer had increased due to a variety of factors, including toxic hormonal ingredients in personal care products.4
  • The Environmental Working Group (EWG) stated in a study that umbilical cord samples taken from 10 newborn American babies were contaminated with chemicals, including BPA and artificial musks, such as those found in the fragrance of personal care products.5
  • David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University of Albany, stated, “Almost all cancers come from some kind of environmental exposure.”6
  • In 2010, the President’s Cancer Panel put out a 240-page report on cancer risks from chemicals and other environmental hazards that concluded the government isn’t doing enough to protect us. “The burden of environmentally induced cancers has been grossly underestimated,” the panel wrote.7 Chemicals they highlighted as dangerous included BPA, formaldehyde, and benzene.

The evidence doesn’t stop here. You’re invited to read the Cinco Vidas blog for many more studies that link daily exposure to harmful toxins with an increased risk of disease. The answer is two-fold: 1) use your voice to influence and vote for those who will help us make changes in national regulations, and 2) take every precaution you can in your own life to reduce your level of toxic exposure. Read our Toxic Truth posts for more information.

Beware Non-Regulated Personal Care Products

When it comes to the products we put on our hair and skin, our government regulation agencies aren’t doing enough. The law says: “Cosmetic products and ingredients are not subject to FDA pre-market approval authority, with the exception of color additives.”8

That means manufacturers can make just about anything they want-using any ingredients-without much oversight.

Meanwhile, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has reported that the fragrance industry uses up to 3.000 ingredients, some 900 of which were identified as toxic. Dr Samuel Epstein, co-author of The Safe Shoppers Bible, says that 70,000 chemicals in commercial production today have been completely untested or inadequately tested.9 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that cosmetic preservatives called parabens displayed estrogenic (read “cancer-causing”) activity in several tests.10

What if something is found to cause injury? Again, according to the law, “Manufacturers are not required to register their cosmetic establishments, file data on ingredients, or report cosmetic-related injuries to FDA.”11 The FDA can, and sometimes does, request a company withdraw any product from the market that is found to be harmful. But that’s all after the fact. Meanwhile, a survey of 2,300 people showed that the average adult uses 9 personal-care products each day, with 126 unique chemical ingredients. More than a quarter of all women and one of every 100 men use at least 15 products daily.12 Nearly 70 percent of all products contain ingredients that can be contaminated with impurities linked to cancer and other health problems. Studies by FDA and European agencies show that these impurities are common, in some cases occurring in nearly half of all products tested.13

When it comes to personal care products, we can’t rely on the FDA to keep us safe. We must educate ourselves about the potential dangers, particularly those of us who are fighting or surviving cancer. A good rule of thumb: read the label, look for organic products, and stay away from the ingredients listed here. Until our government agencies catch up with today’s scientific findings, we’ve got to get out our reading glasses and protect ourselves-because no one else is doing it for us.


  1. Brook R, Franklin B, Cascio WE, Hong Y, et al. (2004) AHA Scientific Statement. Air Pollution and Cardiovascular Disease. A Statement for Healthcare Professionals from the Expert Panel on Population and Prevention Science of the American Heart Association, Circulation, Volume 109, Pages 2655-2671
  2. National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. Fact Sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  3. World Health Organization, “Action is Needed on Chemicals of Major Public Health Concern.”
  4. The Cancer Prevention Coalition. Letter to Congress, June, 2009.
  5. 232 Toxic Chemicals in 10 Minority Babies. The Environmental Working Group. 2009.
  6. Jeff Meyers, “Watchdog Group Emphasizes Public Awareness of Environmental Factors Causing Cancer,” Press Republican, February 12, 2010.
  7. Marla Cone, “President’s Cancer Panel: Environmentally Caused Cancers are ‘Grossly Underestimated’ and ‘Needlessly Devastate American Lives,'” Environmental Health News, May 6, 2010.
  8. Steinman D and Epstein S. The Safe Shoppers Bible. Macmillan. ISBN 002682685. 1995.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Daughton CG and Ternes TA. Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in the Environment: Agents of Subtle Change? Environ Health Perspect. 107(6): 907-38. 1999.
  11. FDA Authority Over Cosmetics. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. March 3, 2005.
  12. Cosmetic companies are not required to do safety testing on their products before marketing. Phend Medical Research.
  13. FDA 1996, DTI 1998.
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