U.K. Leads The Way In Banning Toxic Ingredients In Cosmetics And Personal Care Products

As a result of Holland & Barrett’s recent ban on beauty products containing some toxic ingredients, the Cancer Prevention Coalition commends the UK’s largest nationwide chain of health food stores, but warns that other toxic ingredients remain on the shelves.

According to Holland and Barrett’s October 6th announcement, hundreds of leading beauty products will be removed from its stores nationwide due to claims they contain toxic ingredients.

Since last year, Holland & Barrett have worked closely with suppliers to eliminate the use of these chemicals in their products. Consequently, many well-known brands will be rejected from their stores, and all products under their own brand will be reformulated to be chemical-free.

Parabens, a group of bioactive preservatives, and sodium lauryl sulfate, a harsh detergent unrelated to parabens, are the main ingredients Holland & Barrett is concerned about.

As well as stores in The Netherlands, Holland & Barrett also has locations in Ireland, South Africa and The Republic of Ireland, under the trade name “De Tuinen.”

Despite being the first UK company to do so, Holland & Barrett is not the only company to take this step.

With over 400 stores across the nation, Morrisons, one of the nation’s leading supermarket chains, announced in mid-October that it would review paraben safety concerns shortly.

A number of published studies have confirmed the toxic estrogenic effects of parabens – methyl, ethyl, propyl, butyl, and benzyl – in recent two decades, according to Cancer Prevention Coalition Chairman Samuel S. Epstein, M.D.

“There are many types of these compounds, from butyl, which is 100,000 times stronger than estrogen, to methyl, which is 100,000 times weaker,” Dr. Epstein says.

He explained that parabens penetrate immature female rodents’ skin directly, and can cause premature uterine development by passing directly into the bloodstream. Dr. Epstein emphasizes that parabens have been shown in laboratory tests to stimulate the growth of estrogen-sensitive breast cancer cells, even at very low concentrations. In addition, paraben administration lowers sperm counts in immature male rats and testosterone levels.” As a result of a study he conducted, parabens were found in breast tissue of a breast cancer patient, presumably originating from underarm deodorants or antiperspirants. As a result, parabens have been implicated as possible causes of breast cancer, he warns.

A widely known harsh detergent known as sodium lauryl sulfate and penetration enhancer, Dr. Epstein explains, damages the skin’s surface and damages the skin barrier over time. With carcinogens and toxic ingredients, cosmetics and personal care products can penetrate the skin easily.

Cosmetic Ingredients Review’s annual U.S. Compendium of Cosmetic Ingredients still denies that parabens and sodium lauryl sulfate pose any danger. In this document, the industry describes the safety claims made regarding 1,470 ingredients listed on cosmetic and personal care product labels, such as parabens and sodium lauryl sulfate.

The personal care products council, formerly the Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association, has once again deemed these ingredients safe in its 2009 Cosmetic Ingredients Review Compendium.

In its 2009 annual Cosmetic Ingredient Review Compendium, the Council reiterates its commitment to ensuring that all products purchased by U.S. consumers are safe, and under control.

As Dr. Epstein points out, the Council maintains dozens of full-time lobbyists at the federal and state levels, and strives to oppose what it views as “unreasonable or unnecessary labeling or warning requirements.”

“Holland & Barrett is to be commended for its initiative in phasing out parabens and sodium lauryl sulfate,” says Dr. Epstein. “However, the company appears strangely unaware of other toxic ingredients. These include a wide range of other hormonal ingredients, such as phthalates and bisphenol, besides a still wider range of carcinogens.”

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Alex Jones

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