CHICAGO, IL, January 12, 2010
--/WORLD-WIRE/-- The use of nanoparticles in
personal care products known as cosmeceuticals poses a
generally unrecognized but major public health hazard,
Cancer Prevention Coalition. "Nanoparticles, less
than 1/10,000 of a millimeter in size, readily penetrate
skin, and can invade underlying blood vessels and
produce body-wide toxic effects, including brain
degenerative disorders, and nerve damage," stresses CPC
Chairman Dr. Samuel S. Epstein.
Based on a January 6, 2010 Skin Deep report by the
Environmental Working Group, at least 7 of 26 of Dr.
Perricone skin products were found to contain
nanoparticles, while a total of 25 contain a wide range
of other toxic ingredients.
These include carcinogens such as acrylamide, and
carcinogenic contaminants such as ethylene oxide,
dioxane, nitrosamines and acrylamide, and formaldehyde,
Dr. Epstein emphasizes. They also include allergens, and
toxic hormonal ingredients. Accordingly, the
Environmental Working Group rated 25 of Perricone's
products as posing "moderate to high hazards."
Yet, Dr. Nicholas Perricone posted a full page ad on his
Cold Plasma product in the December 26, 2009 New York
Times Magazine. The ad promised that the product, "gives
skin everything it needs," and "works better for skin
than anything else ever used."
Dr. Perricone's products, known technically as "cosmeceuticals,"
promise to rejuvenate wrinkling or sagging skin in aging
According to his website, Dr. Perricone is noted for his
"holistic approach to aging," and developing a program
that "will enhance your life with better overall health
and increased energy."
However, Dr. Epstein warns, "His claims are baseless as
they are made in the absence of scientific evidence
based on double-blind clinical trials." In these,
patients are randomly assigned to groups which receive
either the test treatment or an alternative untreated
control. Neither the patient, nor the dermatologist
conducting the study, know whether the treatment or the
control has been given to the patient until the trial is
completed. This is the standard way of excluding bias or
As detailed in Dr. Epstein's 2009 book Toxic Beauty (BenBella
Books, 2009), Perricone's website states, "Dr. Perricone
has developed a patented technology excusive to this
line, called Fullerene. Fullerenes are highly stable,
microscopic hollow spheres that carry the active
ingredients into the skin. They bring the intriguing and
transformative world of nanotechnology to the fine art
and science of high performance skin care."
But these nanoparticles are extremely dangerous and
products containing them should be banned, demands Dr.
Epstein. "The ultramicroscopic Fullerenes, also known as
nanoparticles, have been introduced without any labeling
into a growing number of Dr. Perricone's anti-aging
products, particularly skin creams and Ceramic Eye
Smoother. These are touted as reducing wrinkles and
firming up the skin surface.
"Not surprisingly," Dr. Epstein says, "Dr. Perricone has
failed to endorse the California's 2007 Campaign for
Safe Cosmetics Act. This requires cosmetic companies to
disclose all their toxic ingredients on a public
In May 2006, the Friends of the Earth, a global network
of grassroots groups in 77 countries, published a report
"Nanomaterials, Sunscreens and Cosmetics: Small
Ingredients, Big Risks." They warned that it is time
these high risks products were taken off the market. Two
years later, a British Royal Commission report warned
that products containing nanoparticles, pose especially
high toxic risks.
In November 2009, Dr. Wickson, a researcher with a
European Union project on consumer protection laws,
raised critical concerns about nanoparticle products,
and their environmental accumulation, saying, "In
studies of toxicity and exposure, it is crucial to take
into account the incredible persistence of carbon
nanotubes, which represent one of the most biologically
non-degradable man-made materials currently available."
Dr. Wickson further warned that the body's response to
nanoparticles is similar to that of asbestos.
Although Dr. Perricone touts his website as being the
place where "you can get the information and inspiration
you need to manage your looks, your health, your weight
and your life," his cosmeceuticals are deceptively
marketed as safe for the consumer. Nothing could be
further from the truth.
Samuel S. Epstein, M.D. is professor emeritus of
Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the
University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public
Health; Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition; and
a former President of the Rachel Carson Trust. His
awards include the 1989 Right Livelihood Award and the
2005 Albert Schweitzer Golden Grand Medal for
International Contributions to Cancer Prevention. Dr.
Epstein has authored 270 scientific articles, and 15
books on the causes and prevention of cancer. These
include the groundbreaking Politics of Cancer (1979),
and most recently Toxic Beauty (2009, Benbella Books)
about carcinogens and other toxic ingredients in
cosmetics and personal care products.
Samuel S. Epstein, MD
Professor emeritus Environmental & Occupational Medicine
University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health
Chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition
Chicago, Illinois 60612
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