Cosmetics, Personal Care Products, Household Products, and Cancer




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"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease."
- Thomas Edison

Toxic cosmetics ingredient list.

EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database
- safety of 50,000 personal care products

Sunlight is the best cosmetic. See our Sunlight page for more information.

Pure coconut oil is the best natural skin lotion. Apply a small amount and reapply as often as necessary as it soaks into the skin.

In 1997 the #2 censored story was cancer caused by cosmetics and personal care products. - www.project

You can make your own perfumes using health-promoting essential oils.

Applying talcum to the body can increase a woman's chances of developing ovarian cancer. - American Journal of Epidemiology 145: 5 (MAR 1 1997): 459-465 (Use baking soda or corn starch instead)

Talc is a mineral called tremolite which is a form of asbestos. - Epstein, page 60.

As a vegetarian, you don't need to worry that food dyes contain some form of animal product. They are all synthetic chemicals. Their danger lies in their carcinogenic potential. They might also weaken our immune systems, speed up aging, and cause allergies and hyperactivity in children. There is no agreement from country to country which ones are safe. -

There is some concern that colorings in bath products, if used regularly, can concentrate in the bladder, possibly raising the risk of bladder cancer. If you have been using bath products containing food colorings, there probably isn't any reason to be immediately alarmed, but I do recommend switching to naturally colored (or non-colored) alternatives. -

Lovers looking for the perfect Valentine's gift should think twice before giving a bottle of toxic chemicals to their sweethearts. - EHN and Cancer Prevention Coalition

Your hairdresser is in an occupation with higher risk for cancer.

Hair dyes may be responsible for 20% of non-Hodgkins lymphoma in women. - Safe Shopper's Bible



Cartoon source



Carcinogens and other dangerous chemicals in cosmetics and personal care products include: sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), propylene glycol, diethanolamine (DEA), cocamide DEA, lauramide DEA, fluoride, alcohol, alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), aluminum, butane, dioxin, fluorocarbons, formaldehyde, glycerin, kaolin, lanolin, mineral oil, petrolatum, propane, talc, and hundreds more.

More than 38,000 cosmetic injuries requiring medical attention are reported annually in the US. Ingredients in shampoos, toothpastes, skin creams, and other personal care products, fabric softeners, make-up, hair care products, colognes, perfumes and other scented products can be dangerous to your health. 

"A cosmetic manufacturer may use any ingredient or raw material and market the final products without government approval." - FDA

Part of the problem is the legislation for cosmetics and fragrances which regards ingredients as "trade secrets" that do not need to be disclosed on the product label. The industry is expected to be self-regulating and to place a warning on its product labels if any of the ingredients are unsafe.

In 1989, the National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health recognized 884 poisonous substances (many synthetically derived from petrochemicals) from a list of 2,983 chemicals used in the fragrance industry capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders, allergic respiratory reactions, skin and eye irritations. When was the last time you saw this mentioned on a bottle of perfume or shampoo?

Oral Care

The toothpaste we use is called Tooth Builder and contains xylitol which is found to reduce tooth decay. Tooth Builder toothpaste is fluoride-free.


 "If your readers, while watching what they do in a mirror, brush their teeth and gums carefully once day with pure baking soda, they will kill many periodontal-disease associated microorganisms. I have never seen and I know of no clinician who has ever seen serious periodontal disease in a person who has regularly brushed with salt and soda, alone or in combination." - Dr. Paul Keyes

The best toothpaste for healthy teeth and gums is 3% hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.
William Campbell Douglass, M.D.

Hydrogen peroxide dissolves dental plaque.
- McCabe, page 29.


Baking soda has the effect of increasing alkalinity in the mouth, thereby neutralizing acids produced by the bacteria responsible for plaque and tooth decay. Baking soda is also a mild abrasive and whitens teeth. We would add xylitol to the mixture for the dental benefits it brings.

Hydrogen peroxide is alkaline and bubbles and foams as it destroys the bacteria. If there are pockets between the teeth and gums, the foaming action of the hydrogen peroxide helps to clean them out. It also cleans the tongue. For oral use, you can dilute the 3% hydrogen peroxide with up to 10 parts water.

Overbrushing can damage teeth by wearing off the enamel, and it is hard on the gums. The hydrogen peroxide and baking soda combination is so effective cleaning teeth and gums that you may find yourself brushing more gently, using the peroxide & soda to clean the gumline, rather than too vigorous brushing.

Many toothpastes contain zirconium which is very hard and whitens teeth by "polishing" or grinding off the surface of the enamel. By contrast, hydrogen peroxide gently whitens teeth with the bleaching action of oxygen. This preserves the enamel of your teeth. You get this bleaching action when brushing with hydrogen peroxide/baking soda combination, and also when using hydrogen peroxide as a mouth wash.

Rinse the mouth well when you are done. Keep the hydrogen peroxide out of your eyes. Read the label carefully and follow the directions. The 3% hydrogen peroxide is not "food grade" and may contain other ingredients that are not intended for internal consumption. Also, you may want to be careful to keep the hydrogen peroxide off your clothing because the oxygen in it has a bleaching effect. This is good for whitening teeth, but not so good for clothes! 


Alternative to Gum Surgery

"The treatment consists of rubbing a mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide into the gums. It's not quite that simple. The dentist has to do some housecleaning around your mouth, and the patient has to take the time at home for the peroxide to do the job. But the treatment is basically very simple and very effective." - Dr. Douglass, page 59.

Periodontist Dr. Paul Cummings taught gum surgery at the University of North Carolina and reports a 98 percent success rate in 1,000 patients using hydrogen peroxide. "The irony is that you can get better results without surgery. I've been using the nonsurgical technique for five years and the results are 300 percent better than I ever got with surgery." - Dr. Cummings, quoted in Dr. Douglass, page 60.


Teeth are held in the gums by connective tissue, and formation of connective tissue needs vitamin C. About 4 grams of vitamin C daily is required to prevent receding gums and the formation of pockets between the teeth and gums. For more information on teeth care see see this section on nutritional supplements, and FAQ 15.


The 3% hydrogen peroxide is also an excellent mouth wash, gargle and skin cleanser. If you would like to learn more about hydrogen peroxide, using hydrogen peroxide in your bath and other subjects, we have a full page on the subject of oxygen. Hydrogen peroxide is just water with extra oxygen. - Editor, Alkalize For Health 

In The Toledo Blade News, "Synthetic Musks Linked to Environmental Risks," March 24, 1999, scientists report: "Synthetic fragrances used in perfumes, soaps, ... fabric softeners, cosmetics and scores of other consumer products have become a new and unexpected group of environmental contaminants. The chemicals are accumulating in human fat tissue, blood, breast milk, drinking water supplies, lakes and streams, fish and wildlife, and elsewhere in the environment. There is reason for public concern about possible effects of these fragrances. One compound, musk xylene, has carcinogenic, or cancer-causing, effects in laboratory mice. Another, musk ketone, damages genes in animal experiments and has other worrisome effects. Dr. Gerhard G. Rimkus estimated that 8,000 tons of synthetic musk fragrances are produced annually. The compounds can be absorbed through the skin and tend to build up in fat tissue. They get into the environment in sewage and wastewater. Synthetic musk compounds are major chemical contaminants in many samples of water and fish." 

Once, fragrances did not pose the same degree of hazard that they do today. For thousands of years herbs, flowers, and animals such as the Asian musk deer, beaver, and sperm whale have been sources of fragrances. However, expanding consumer demand and scarcity of these resources - coupled with advanced technology - led to a whole new area of synthetic fragrances, and today some 95 percent of the mix in most fragrances is made from synthetic chemicals. - Safe Shopper's Bible (The Safe Shopper's Bible has three main sections for: 1. household products, 2, cosmetics and personal care products, and 3. foods and beverages. Products are evaluated by brand name and rated for their ability to cause cancer, birth defects, or damage to the nervous system).

Recent analysis of Calvin Klein's "Eternity Eau de Parfum" (Eternity) by an industry laboratory specializing in fragrance chemistry revealed 41 ingredients. These include some known to be toxic to the skin, respiratory tract, nervous, and reproductive systems, and others known to be carcinogens. The analysis was  commissioned by the Environmental Health Network (EHN) after members complained of asthma, migraine, sensitization, or multiple chemical sensitivity when exposed to Eternity.

Nearly 72% of asthmatics have adverse reactions to perfume, and at least 35 million Americans are afflicted with allergic reactions and hypersensitivity diseases.

In 1966 the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) was formed to test fragrance materials for safety. Most of the tests conducted by the RIFM revolved around skin effects of the materials. Only about 1,300 of the more than 5,000 materials available for use in fragrances have been tested. The testing does not include respiratory, neurological, or systemic effects.

A 1991 study performed by the EPA found numerous chemicals commonly used in fragrance products cause when inhaled, "central nervous system disorders, dizziness, nausea, incoordination, slurred speech, drowsiness, irritation to the mouth, throat, eyes, skin, lungs and GI tract, kidney damage, headache, respiratory failure, ataxia, and fatigue, among other symptoms and illnesses." Material Safety Data Sheets on each chemical confirm these findings.

The following information is reprinted with permission from the Cancer Prevention Coalition Website We have highlighted the information related to cancer.

New Initiatives in Personal Care Product Safety, Jan. 2000

Cancer Prevention Coalition is pleased to report precedential recent break-through initiatives in consumer product safety.

Fragrances and Perfumes:

       As emphasized in the Safe Shopper's Bible, fragrances and perfumes in mainstream cosmetics and toiletries, besides in soaps and other household products, are leading causes of allergy, sensitization, and irritation. Their toxicity is also in serious question as is their contribution to indoor air pollution.

       The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has reported that the fragrance industry uses up to 3000 ingredients, predominantly synthetic, some 900 of which were identified as toxic. However, the industry is not required to disclose ingredients of fragrances and perfumes on their labels due to trade secrecy considerations. The FDA supports this non-disclosure on the grounds that "consumers are not adversely affected -- and should not be deprived of the enjoyment" of these products.

       An analysis of six different mainstream perfumes by Scientific Instrument Services, released in November 1998, identified over 800 ingredients with distinctive patterns for each perfume. These ingredients include a wide range of volatile and semi-volatile organic chemicals which are thus a significant contributors to indoor air pollution.

      On May 11, 1999, the California Environmental Health Network filed a Citizen Petition with the FDA requiring warning labels on all fragrances which are marketed without prior adequate safety testing. Additionally, the petition requested the FDA to take administrative action and declare Calvin Klein' Cosmetic Company "Eternity eau de parfume" as "misbranded." This petition has been supported and endorsed by the CPC. While Eternity perfume has been known since 1995 as toxic to the respiratory tract and nervous system, the petition was based on recent analysis of the perfume by two independent laboratories, Scientific Instruments Services and the cosmetic industry's Research Institute of Fragrance Materials Laboratory. Of all 41 ingredients identified, no toxicity data are available on some, data on most are inadequate, and others are known to be toxic to the skin, mucous membranes, respiratory tract, and reproductive and nervous systems by routes including skin absorption and inhalation. Additionally, two ingredients (phenylmethyl acetic acid ester and 2,6-bis (1,1-dimethylethyl) -4-methyl-phenol) were identified as carcinogens. The FDA has 180 days to respond to this petition. However, any positive response is most unlikely.

      Neways International, a leading alternative safe consumer products company, has taken a precedential initiative in the area of fragrance safety. The few fragrances used in Neways personal care products contain less than 10 ingredients, most of which are natural. As importantly, none of the few synthetics used are known to be toxic or carcinogenic. In the near future, these products will be labeled accordingly.


      A wide range of personal care products including shampoos, hair conditioners, cleansers, lotions, and creams, besides household products such as soaps and cleaning products, contain surfactants or detergents such as ethoxylated alcohols, polysorbates, and laureths. These ingredients are generally contaminated with high concentrations of the highly volatile 1,4 - dioxane, which is both readily inhaled and absorbed through the skin. The carcinogenicity of dioxane in rodents was first reported in 1965 and subsequently confirmed in other studies including by the National Cancer Institute in 1978; the predominant sites of cancer were nasal passages in rats and liver in mice. Epidemiological studies on dioxane-exposed furniture makers have reported suggestive evidence of excess nasal passage cancers. On the basis of such evidence, the Consumer Product Safety Commission concluded that "the presence of 1,4 - dioxane, even as a trace contaminant, is a cause of concern." These avoidable risks of cancer in numerous personal care, besides other consumer, products is inexcusable, particularly as the dioxane is readily removed from surfactants during their manufacture by a process known as "vacuum stripping."

       Again, Neways now stands alone in certifying and labeling the surfactants in its personal care products as "dioxane-free," and thus sets an important precedent to the entire personal care products industry.



There has been some speculation that hair dyes can increase the risk of bladder cancer. That's because the chemicals in the dye are absorbed, and concentrate in the bladder....In general, I would stay away from chemical dyes. If you do plan to use them, make sure you don't leave the dye on your head any longer than necessary. Rinse your scalp thoroughly with water when you're done. Wear gloves during the whole process. Henna is a plant-derived dye, which is OK. And you can find other natural dyes in health-food stores -- I would stick with those. -

However, deodorants containing anti-perspirants commonly cause inflammation of sweat glands and the formation of cysts under the arm. I would say this is reason enough not to use them. -

99% of breast cancer tissue samples contain a chemical called parabens.




Consumers and industry agree. Cosmeceuticals are the future of anti-aging skin care. World-class companies in the industry are flooding the marketplace with cosmetics that claim pharmaceutical benefits along with temporary visible effects.

Botanicals are the rage. By adding cosmetics grade extracts of herbs in appropriate strength, and by using proven a delivery mechanism surely you too will receive the multiple benefits claimed. Unfortunately, this is not the story for many consumers. Often women experience less benefit than advertised, or mild to severe side effects along with the benefits.

Because of the western notion of a single-cause-single effect it seems that simply by adding multiple ingredients to a base one receives multiple benefits from a cream or lotion or gel. We see this science as flawed, and have a very different vision of the future of anti-aging skin care.

Essentially, no science of combination, no technology of delivery, has yet been found which will provide a really effective holistic side-effect free botanical product with multiple cosmeceutical benefits. Manufacturers of AHA, BHA and retinol based products are left to juggle the amount of extract to be added versus the benefit received versus the side effects produced.

Where will the "new new"' in cosmeceuticals come from? What science exists for effective side-effect free formulation? And when can we expect to see these transformational products and regimens? Who will emerge as the leader in providing holistic side-effect free skin care?


Real face and body care is going "back to the future." The deepest knowledge of botanicals belongs to ayurveda, the world's original system of health care. Maharishi Ayurveda possesses an unrivaled set of technologies for processing and extraction of raw herbs. And Vaidya R.K. Mishra, world-renowned ayurvedic dermatologist, embodies the knowledge of the use (sanskar) and the science of combination (sanyoga) for developing authentic ayurvedic formulations and treatment protocols that maximize pharmaceutical-like benefits for internal and external benefits.

New ingredients, new knowledge of the structure and function of the skin, and new approaches to treatment are redefining what is possible in anti-aging skin care. New ingredients like Gotu Kola, Sensitive Plant and Flame of Forest are creating excitement, and the possibility that whole plant extracts will usher in a new future for skin care.

Of course, if you talk to an ayurvedic dermatologist there is nothing new here. Authentic individualized use of herbs and mineral formulations have kept the women of India looking younger than their biological age in the world's harshest environment for at least five millennia.

Vaidyas, traditional herbal doctors, claim ayurveda has a more complete understanding of botanicals and their holistic interactions with the structure and function of all aspects of the skin. For example, Gotu Kola has been scientifically shown to stimulate collagen synthesis by up to 30%.

Vaidya R.K. Mishra includes Gotu Kola in formulations that increase collagen synthesis. However, major cosmetics firms consider it virtually unusable because it causes contact dermatitis (rashes and irritation).

In a recent interview, a research chemist from a prominent firm in the industry asked Dr. Mishra the secret to safely including Gotu Kola in anti-aging formulas. Dr. Mishra explained that the knowledge of ayurvedic herbal combination and the psychophysiology of the skin require more than the specific knowledge of balancing the unwanted effects of just a single herb.

Unlike other modern cosmeceutical products an authentic ayurvedic formula will contain multiple ingredients all of which must be balanced one to another and to the condition of the skin. For example, the purpose of Sensitive Plant is to re-awaken the full functioning of the 1,300 nerves contained in one square inch of skin.

But this must not interfere with collagen synthesis, or overheat the temperature receptors. Ordinary multiple ingredient cosmeceuticals such as those using AHAs, retinols, and vitamins also create multiple side effects.

In reality no science of combination exists for botanical formulations in the West. The worldview that one cause targets one effect is too simplistic for real world skin care. The skin is a very complex and delicate living organ that metabolizes virtually anything applied to it. Thus, a face cream should be alive in all its ingredients. The botanical intelligence of each extract must be able to awaken the intelligence with which it is associated. Even the base must support skin structure and function through perfect metabolism.

Ideally, a perfectly balanced ayurvedic anti-aging formula should work in the long term as a transformational agent to actually make the skin younger. It should re-enliven full functioning as if each skin cell remembered its youth. This, according to R.K. Mishra, is the intelligence level of the skin, which forms the basis of the ayurvedic theory of skin care.



 Which part of your body causes the most infections and is most important to keep clean? Your fingernails! Very few bacteria live on your skin, but billions live in the warm, moist environment under your fingernails. And your finger tips frequently touch your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth, transferring these bacteria into your body. Keep your nails short. Do not coat them, so that oxygen can penetrate the nail and kill bacteria.


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Aquaspirit® body and facial mist combines the power of oxygen and aromatherapeutic nutrients to stimulate circulation and promote strong, healthy skin.  

O2-Zap® ozonated olive oil is loaded with oxygen and ozone to help promote healthy skin. May help with eczema, acne, wrinkles, swelling and irritation.

Parfait Visage® is a natural, ultra-premium skin care product blending antioxidants, natural moisturizers, and exotic botanicals to help skin look its best.

In 1904 there was very little cancer. Now there is an abundance of cancer. What has changed? Can this be reversed? If you have cancer or do not want to get cancer the information you and your family need is on this web site.


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