Is there poison in your lipstick?

A special feature on the ‘dirty chemicals’ in cosmetics

Toxic chemicals are all around us.

They’re in the soaps we bathe our kids with, the creams we lather on our skin day and night, the detergent we wash our clothes with.  It’s in the food that we eat!

Many have been linked to increasing risks for chronic and life-threatening diseases.


Here are top reasons why you should care

These ‘dirty chemicals’:

1.  Bioaccumulate.  Our bodies are not designed to metabolize them, neither is the environment ready to degrade them. What that means: these chemicals only keep adding up in our system and the environment, and even get passed on from mother-to-child during pregnancy. When it reaches a toxic level, you get chronically ill (cancer, organ failure, etc.) and then you die.

2.  Disrupt the normal functioning of our vital organs.  A number of these chemicals are considered to be ‘endocrine disrupting’ (EDCs). Our endocrine system commands our hormones to turn on or off our vital body processes.  Some of the adverse effects of EDCs are: increased risk of women to estrogen-related cancers, most especially breast and ovarian cancers; earlier onset of menarche, or first menstuation, among girls which increases their risk for cancer; and, increased occurrence of reproductive health problems.

3.  Increase our risk for acquiring cancer.  According to the World Health Organization, cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, with 12.7 million new cases and 7.6 million deaths in 2008. Globally, 19% of all cancers are attributable to the environment, including work setting resulting in 1.3 million deaths each year.

4.  Endanger our lives and decrease our quality of life.  These chemicals make us sick and make us weak. When we our unhealthy, our productivity suffers.  Then, our families take the brunt of the consequences — taking care of sick family members, and spending more for healthcare. With more families suffering, the communities where we live in suffer as well as economic activities slow down or, decline.

Check out this slide presentation for more information on toxic chemicals in cosmetics:

Main references used for this article and the slide presentation:

1.  “The ‘Dirty Dozen’ ingredients investigated in the David Suzuki Foundation Survey of Chemicals in Cosmetics” David Suzuki Foundation. 2010. File Path:

2.  “Preventing Breast Cancer. Guide to cosmetics and personal care products”  Breast Cancer UK.  2015.  File Path:

3.  “Under new safety law: 20 Toxic chemicals EPA should act on now” Environmental Working Group. 2016.  Link:



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