Cancer Prevention Coalition

Shelley Kramer, Director of the Los Angeles chapter of Cancer Prevention Coalition

Shelley R. Kramer   Contact: 310 457-5176


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Unrecognized Risks of Perricone MD Skin Care Products

Cancer Prevention Coalition 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, warns the 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 women.

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 frank misrepresentation.

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 website."

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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