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Dispelling Rumours

First published to Fresholi January '08

Our thanks to Elaine of for submitting this very interesting and informative resource.  A great source for reference.

Some harmless cosmetic ingredients have gained bad reputations because of ill-informed media publications, websites and circulating emails.

The links in this article will lead you to properly researched information, where relevant a short extract from the linked page has been included.


The CTPA is an association of manufacturers of cosmetic, toiletry and perfumery products, founded in 1945 to promote the interests of members, primarily with government. That remit has now extended to include the European Commission and many other regulatory bodies, national and international groups.

Scientific safety studies have demonstrated that parabens are safe both for human health and in the environment.  When applied to human skin there is rapid and extensive breakdown of parabens to products with biologically insignificant hormonal effects.

Scientific safety studies have demonstrated that the use of parabens in cosmetic products does not pose any problem for human health, leading to their official approval as preservatives for cosmetics by the European Commission and other authorities.

Dr Sarah Rawlings, Head of Policy and Information at Breakthrough Breast Cancer says  "There is no reliable scientific evidence to suggest a link between deodorant or antiperspirant use - both on their own and in combination with shaving - and breast cancer. A large number of scientific studies have investigated breast cancer risk factors, however there is no reliable evidence to suggest deodorant or anti-perspirant use are two of them. This review does not provide any further proof” while the US National Cancer Institute says that "The US Food and Drug Administration.... does not have any evidence or research data to support the theory that ingredients in underarm antiperspirants or deodorants cause cancer".

Rumour: An internet rumour initiated in 1999 falsely states that antiperspirants are unsafe.  The story, alleging a link between antiperspirants and breast cancer, is usually relayed via an anonymous e-mail.

An old internet rumour is routinely re-circulated, and is often perpetuated in media articles, alleging that SLS can cause irritation and may even cause cancer.

An old internet rumour is routinely re-circulated via e-mail alleging that lipsticks contain lead and may therefore cause cancer.  The message goes on to name various brands and even suggests you can test for the presence of lead by using a gold ring.  Finally, the message asks you to pass the information on to friends.

This is another example of an e-mail chain letter and is a hoax.  The allegation that lipsticks contain lead is false and the gold ring test simply does not work.

We’d like to emphasize that all substances used as ingredients are chemicals, whether natural or man-made.   Indeed, everything is made of chemicals – there is no such thing as a 'chemical free’ product!  Implying that a man-made chemical is ‘bad’ whereas natural/organic is ‘good’ is meaningless.  'Chemical' does not mean the opposite of 'natural' and there are plenty of unsafe natural chemicals as well as beneficial ones – in fact we know that many of nature's chemicals are very toxic.

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