In 1995 The Cancer Coalition (CPC) and Ralph Nader released the first annual "Dirty Dozen" Consumer Product List.
CPC Chairperson Samuel Epstein, M.D., and investigative journalist, David Steinman, compiled the "Dirty Dozen" from data on over 3,500 consumer products analyzed and ranked in their book, The Safe Shopper's Bible. The good news is that safer alternatives are available for all the "Dirty Dozen".
The products on the list are used in most American homes and manufactured by giant U.S. corporations.
Back in 1995 some of the "Dirty Dozen" products included Ajax Cleanser®, Clairol® Nice n' Easy Haircolor and Lysol® Disinfectant.
The "Dirty Dozen" products contain a wide-range of carcinogenic and other toxic ingredients and contaminants to which most of us are exposed daily.
The "Dirty Dozen" list is continually updated and includes alternative products which do not pose as big of a threat.
Hair And Beauty Products Currently On Dirty Dozen List
Talcum Powder- (Johnson & Johnson. Inc.)
Labeled Toxic Ingredient:TALC, Carcinogenic and a risk factor for ovarian cancer; lung irritant.
Safer Alternative:Corn Starch - (Johnson & Johnson, Inc.)
Clairol Nice 'n Easy (Permanent Haircolor) (Clairol. Inc.)
Labeled Toxic Ingredients:QUATERNlUM-15, Formaldehyde-releaser; carcinogenic; neurotoxic; contact dermatitis and sensitizer.
DIETHANOLAMINE (DEA), Carcinogenic; also interacts with nitrites to form a carcinogenic nitrosamine.PHENYLENE-DIAMINES, Includes carcinogens and other ingredients inadequately tested for carcinogenicity; contact dermatitis.
PROPYLENE GLYCOL, Contact dermatitis.FRAGRANCE, Wide range of undisclosed ingredients; contact dermatitis.
NOTE: Also evidence of causal relation to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, multiple myeloma and other cancers.
Safer Alternatives:Igora Botanic - Schwarzkopf, Inc. or Logona Henna Black - Natur Kosmetik
Alberto VO5 Conditioner (Essence of Neutral Henna) (Alberto-Culver USA. Inc.)
Labeled Toxic Ingredients:
FORMALDEHYDE, Carcinogenic; neurotoxic; contact dermatitis and sensitizer.POLYSORBATE 80, Generally contaminated with the carcinogen 1,4-dioxane.
FD&C RED #4, Carcinogenic.FRAGRANCE, Wide range of undisclosed ingredients; contact dermatitis.
Safer Alternative:Earth Preserv Hair Vitalizer (all scents, but with fragrances) (Earth Preserv, Inc.)
Cover Girl Replenishing Natural Finish Make Up (Foundation) (Procter & Gamble. Inc.)
Labeled Toxic Ingredients:BHA, Carcinogenic.
TALC, Carcinogenic; Lung Irritant.TRIETHANOLAMINE (TEA), Interacts with nitrites to form carcinogenic nitrosamines.
LANOLIN, Often contaminated with DDT and other carcinogenic pesticides.PARABENS, Contact dermatitis.
FRAGRANCE, Wide range of unlabeled, untested, and toxic ingredients; contact dermatitis.
Safer Alternative:Max Factor Pan-Silk Ultra Creamy Makeup (Max Factor, Inc.)
Plea For Reformulation With Non-Toxic Alternatives
Nader and CPC urged the manufacturers of the "Dirty Dozen" to reformulate their products with non-toxic alternatives. "Ironically, some "Dirty Dozen" manufacturers also market safer alternatives", said Dr. Epstein.
"What is particularly galling about the "Dirty Dozen", emphasized Ralph Nader, "is that these toxic chemicals don't have to be there. Yet these corporations continue to expose people to health hazards unnecessarily".
Current product labeling provides no warning for cancer and other chronic health risks. Food is labeled for cholesterol, but not for carcinogens. Cosmetics are labeled for major ingredients, but not for those that form carcinogens or contain carcinogenic contaminants. Except for pesticides, household products contain no information on their ingredients.
Skyrocketing Cancer Rates
Cancer rates are skyrocketing. Currently, more than one-third of all of us will develop cancer in our lifetime, and one-fourth will die from the disease. Many cancers are due to avoidable exposures to industrial carcinogens in the food we eat, and the cosmetics and household products we use.
"Americans have a fundamental right-to-know about hazardous chemicals in all consumer products they buy, and the cancer and other risks of those chemicals--information that remains hidden in government and industry files," concluded Dr. Epstein. "With this knowledge, consumers can protect themselves by voting with their shopping dollars and buying safer alternatives".
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