THEY MAKE YOU SMELL, FEEL, AND
LOOK GOOD BUT CAN COSMETICS INCREASE YOUR RISK OF CANCER?
Chicago. October 22, 1996
Chicago - Cancer Prevention Coalition, and Dr. Sam
Epstein: Tough standards are essential for phasing out cocoamide
diethylolamine (DEA), (TEA), (MEA) from cosmetics and toiletries.
In a petition to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
released today, the Cancer Prevention Coalition (CPC) urged the labeling or
phasing out of DEA in cosmetic products. DEA is a precursor of
nitrosodiethanolamine (NDEA), a proven carcinogen as recognized by four Federal
agencies and institutions and the World Health Organization. The proposed label
would read, "Caution - This product may contain N-nitrosodiethanolamine, a
known cancer-causing agent."
DEA-based detergents are widely used in shampoos, lotions
and creams. Since 1976, workers exposed to NDEA in metal working fluids, at
levels similar to those in cosmetics, have been warned of cancer risks and
steps are taken to protect them.
Aubrey Hampton, founder of Aubrey Organics, noted that DEA is
not an essential ingredient in hair and skin care products. There are natural,
safe and effective alternatives to DEA that pose no financial hardship for the
manufacturer or the consumer"
In 1979, the FDA urged the cosmetics industry to take
"immediate action to eliminate" NDEA in cosmetics. However, the FDA has taken no
subsequent action while industry remains unresponsive. In striking contrast, the
EEC has sharply reduced permissible uses of DEA. German cosmetic industry has
also resolved this problem by phasing out DEA detergents, thereby preventing the
formation of NDEA
Dr. William Lijinksy, leading international nitrosamine
researcher, emphasized, 'The continued use of DEA is unacceptable especially in
view of the overwhelming scientific evidence of its cancer risks and the
availability of safe alternatives."
Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., professor of environmental and
occupational medicine at the University of Illinois School of Public Health and
chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition said that, "Faced with escalating
cancer rates, the FDA and other health agencies should take overdue action to
reduce avoidable exposures to carcinogens. NDEA in cosmetics, used by many
million consumers for many decades, is a prime example of such an avoidable
Avoid these controversial ingredients