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Lifestyle in Style

Toronto Hot Docs: “Toxic Beauty”; Make-up as the New Cigarette?

The personal care product industry is probably even more deleterious for your health than cigarettes. Imagine led in lipstick. Asbestos in talcum powder. Formaldehyde in shampoo and 10,000 other chemicals in make-up and other personal care products!

The dangers of make-up were initially enunciated in the 1930’s yet production methods remain largely unchanged and unregulated particularly in the United States where several attempts at introducing regulations pertaining to personal care products have failed. An 84-billion-dollar industry has great lobbying power.  

As one commentator states there are comprehensive testing of drugs and what is sprayed on crops but as far as the US FDA is concerned cosmetics are not even the back seat of the car.

Researchers are busy attempting to firmly establish that many of the chemicals in personal care products are hazardous. Particularly dangerous seems to be talcum powder which has strong links to ovarian cancer where sprinkled in underwear. Currently there are some 11,000 people involved in lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson for the damages claimed to be caused by its baby powder. Currently in Canada there is a class action against them. They have already lost two cases and the current CEO actually claims J&J baby powder prevents ovarian cancer! Tell that to the victims you’ll see in the film two of which died before they went to trial.

In February 2018 Health Canada issued a warning of the potential risk of Lung Effects and Ovarian Cancer attributable to talcum powder. Meanwhile Canada has banned 459 chemicals for personal care products, the EU 1,394 and the wild west United States a whopping 11.

Now the great fear in the medical community is what effects are these products going to have on children. Some research indicates a link to ADHD.

Given the level and intensity of research I would not be surprised if the cosmetic industry slides into bankruptcy like so many Canadian tobacco companies.

Director of this 90 minute film is Phyllis Ellis. It shows at Hot Docs Theatre on April 28 at 6:30 p.m.

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