Healthy Alternatives for Safety Conscious Product Information for your Body and Home

      Shelley R. Kramer   Contact: 310 457-5176           

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Presentation on Chemicals in Everyday Products.

My name is Shelley Kramer, and I am the Local Office Director for the Cancer Prevention Coalition of Los Angeles, CA. Our Coalition group is a 501c3 non profit, educational and advocacy group educating the public on various health issues.

The Cancer Prevention Coalition was founded in 1994, and is headed by Dr. Sam Epstein, MD(d.2018) leading cancer researcher and professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Illinois, School of Public Health. Dr. Epstein wrote the Safe Shoppers Bible in 1995 together with Dr.David Steinman. Dr. Epstein also wrote The Politics of Cancer Revisited, Breast Cancer Prevention Program and, Unreasonable Risk, How to Avoid Cancer From Personal Care and Cosmetics, his newest 2009 book, Toxic Beauty and has published over 300 articles in scientific journals and peer reviewed applications.

The topics I will be covering here include just the tip of the iceberg on this most important health issue

*To Become aware of being a wise consumer and learn about the chemicals in everyday personal hygiene and beauty products

*The scientific information validating this important health issue and

*How you can find safe, non toxic alternatives.

I would like to tell you a little about myself and my background

*In 1974, I discovered I had skin cancer all over my face and hands. I did grow up in So Cal, at the beach and in the sun, but never imagined how much I had damaged my skin over the first 20 years of my life. The doctor gave me an acid to put on my face to eat off the actinic keratosis cancers. Then In 1985, I had a 5cm basal cell tumor removed and ľ" of my lip cut out and another 3cm removed from my back. Then again in 1998, I discovered I had another basal cell tumor and had 75% of my lower right eyelid removed and rebuilt It started as a tiny sore that would bleed, peel, ooze, heal, then repeat the cycle again. I was operated on for 4 hours, 5 cutsfor a 5cm,deep tumor and took 30 stitches to rebuild my lower eyelid. I almost lost my eye. Again in 1999, I had another 3 cm tumor removed from under my left eye. In 2002 a squamous cell on side of my nose and another on my right thigh. I used natural ingredients to get rid of these cancers.

* My beautiful mother died in 1982 at age 56, from breast, lymph and lung cancer. She had worked for Revlon cosmetics for 15 years, putting cosmetic chemicals on women across the United States, she was known as "Miss Shirley Marks", from the House of Revlon. For 5 years prior to that she worked for Helena Rubenstein cosmetics. I really began to see clearly my field of work, finding out why there are so many cancers and hoping to make a difference in the cancer prevention area.

*I have been doing research on the reasons why we get cancer and diseases ever since 1974, when I first found out I had skin cancer and tumors. I went back to school, studying health for more than 26 years.

*In February,1998, I saw an alarming and shocking CBS National Television News Special Report by reporter Roberta Baskin called "Skin Deep", documenting the use of inexpensive and hazardous chemicals in most shampoos. It featured the FDA Director, Dr. Dr. Sam Epstein, and a research chemist. They showed how shampoo was made and what ingredients and chemicals went into making regular stock shampoo. They stated that the cost of making such hair care products was documented at costing a mere 8.9 cents per bottle, and could sell for about $12. to $14.00 per bottle. The cap on the bottle cost more than the shampoo.

It was stated that since the early formulations of these products, back in 1938, that the major cosmetic companies, many of which were grand-fathered in with the old laws. There have been no new laws on any of our products since 1938, yet over 850,000 new chemicals have been added to our products since then without proper testing or analysis. Anyone Öcan put products on the market without anyÖ FDA regulations. They donít even need to list the ingredients they use any longer. They did away with the regulation of registering new products back in 1998.

"In the last few years you have probably heard on the radio, seen on TV and read articles about this information on chemicals in our everyday products and are probably as confused as I was. (emphasize) Antifreeze in toothpaste! engine degreaser in shampoo! I was totally shocked and really delved further into this research. Bill Moyer had a PBS show special in March of 2001 called "Trade Secrets" that exposed the chemical industry and the hidden truths about their cancer causing products.

Is this a shock to some of you? It was to me.

I read the report from the Research to Prevent Blindness studies, and the Department of Toxicology Studies about sodium laurel sulfate causing eye tissue damage,Ö. another report from the Wall Street Journal about Kids who Hate Baths, it talks about the chemical dea, diethanolamine, together with sodium laurel sulfate, causing liver and kidney damage.

Members of the Cancer Prevention Coalition Released the following Press Release beginning in 1998


Cancer and health risk experts just concluded reviews that indicate mainstream cosmetics and personal hygiene products pose the highest cancer risk exposures to the general public, higher than smoking cigarettes. The derivations are not surprising after correlating U. S. Government research report that the Cancer Prevention Coalition received via the Freedom of Information Act.

The CPC Director, Dr. Sam Epstein, pursued obtaining the report after reading a letter, in 1997, from Senator Ed Kennedy to President Clinton concerning the severity of this subject to the public health of the nation. The letter addressed many known cancer causing, and reproductive hazardous chemicals used to make most of our everyday personal hygiene and beauty products. The letter also addressed the need for immediate actions to protect the public, and rescind the "Buyer Beware Approach" used within the government, cosmetic and industrial chemical industry.

A 4.5 million dollar lawsuit was settled between 51,000 people when clumps of their hair and scalp began to fall out. Many are still bald. Making safe products is not rocket science and can be done. It may cost a few pennies more which gets into profit margins, but it is still cheaper than chemotherapy, or other medical bills.

Cancer rates have essentially grown from 1 in 1,000,at the beginning of the century to 1 in 2 in the last 100 years. We are in an epidemic that is expected to get much, much worse. At the current cancer growth rate, by the year 2030, essentially every American can expect to contract cancer.

Most scientists agree that cancer is initially caused by industrial chemicals, and or radiation exposures. Everyone comes in contact with these chemicals in food, water, air (tobacco smoke), but the biggest risk now appears to be absorption and inhalation of chemicals in our daily used products.

Hereís a Quote from the The Safe Shoppers Bible it warns consumers by saying "Not a single cosmetic company warns consumers of the presence of carcinogens in its products - despite the fact that several common cosmetic ingredients or their contaminants are carcinogenic themselves or are carcinogenic precursors."

"Consumers have an inalienable right to know what ingredients are in products they use daily, and to be certain that chemicals posing chronic health risks will be phased out when alternatives are available. These are rights regardless of one's perception of the risk of the ingredient. Yet walk down the aisle of any supermarket and you will quickly see how minimal regulation has led to grossly inadequate labeling."

"How bad is the situation? Some leading household products do not disclose to the consumer that they contain carcinogens, neurotoxins or other hazardous substances. Shoppers may choose these products anyway and may want to continue using them, but they deserve complete labeling information to make an informed choice."

*It has only been discovered this past decade that over 98% of our personal hygiene and beauty cosmetic products contain controversial ingredients and other chemicals which are now known carcinogens.

You are probably asking How can the government let this happen? This sounds like another the tobacco scandal. It took the government 60 years to recognize cigarettes as carcinogens, yet they donít take them off the market, and what about alcohol, they know that is dangerous too? It is being uncovered, and it will take a long time to change any laws.

What about those warning labels on toothpastes, bubble baths and mouthwashes?

Those warning labels are there for a reason. Most Toothpastes and Mouthwashes contains sodium fluoride, a known toxin, which is listed on MSDS sheets as "severe poison". Bubble baths contains sodium lauryl sulfate and propylene glycol, (propylene glycol has been listed as a carcinogen on the 9th report on Carcinogens). These chemicals are also irritating to skin and membranes and could cause kidney and liver damage. Here is the box from a toothpaste, let me read you the warning label

One FDA study has shown that washing your hair just once with shampoo containing these ingredients, sodium lauryl sulfate and cocoamide dea and propylene glycol, puts as many nitrates into your blood stream as if you had eaten a whole pound of bacon. These chemicals have been found to cause liver and kidney disorders and cancer.

*The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has identified over 800 chemicals available for use in cosmetics which have been reported to the government as toxic substances and known carcinogens.

The Wall Street Journal published an article about Kids Who Hate Baths, about the hazardous chemicals in soaps.

*As of 1997 Senator Ed Kennedy went before Congress with information from the FDA and General Accounting Office of our government that has identified over 125 known controversial ingredients in our personal care products. He has since published several articles to Congress and was on the cover of the Boston Globe identifying this problem, yet nothing has been done. The FDA does not require any regulations on these products, and can only take action if something is reported to them.

Isnít this very disturbing to think that for all these years we have been using chemicals on our bodies that could harm our skin and could potentially cause cancer." There are many scientific studies, articles and books that we can read about this information.

There are many studies that show that these chemicals have small molecules and enter your blood stream immediately when you put them on your body and they are taken up by your heart, lungs, kidneys liver and brain. They are finding propylene glycol in peopleís livers and other organs. Some studies show that sodium laurel sulfate literally causes the hair follicles to fall out.

The 1st, 6th and 9th Reports on Carcinogens put out by the General Accounting Office of our government on Propylene Oxide (which propylene glycol is a derivative) and Mineral Oil and coal Tars, as known carcinogens are in so many products on the market today.

"What are these damaging Surfactants and why are there warning labels on them?

Surfactants or detergents such as certain alcohols, polysorbates, cocoamide diethanolamine (from the coconut plant) and sodium laurel sulfate and laureths are in a wide range of personal care products including shampoos, hair conditioners, cleansers, lotions, and creams, besides household products such as soaps and cleaning products, contain These ingredients are generally contaminated with high concentrations of the highly volatile dioxane, which is both readily inhaled and absorbed through the skin.

The carcinogenicity of dioxane became discovered in 1965 and subsequently confirmed in other studies including by the National Cancer Institute in 1978 On the basis of such evidence, the Consumer Product Safety Commission concluded that "the presence of dioxane, even as a trace contaminant, is a cause of concern." These avoidable risks of cancer in numerous personal care, besides other consumer, products is inexcusable, particularly as the dioxane can be readily removed from surfactants during their manufacture by a process known as "vacuum stripping."

(What does the governing arm of this industry, the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association, have to say about all this?

I went to the annual meeting back in November,2001, and the first chemical they brought to the table was cocoamide DEA, diethanolamine and TEA, triethanolamine. They acknowledged that they knew it caused cancer back in 1983, and again in proven studies in 1998, but they still will not take it off the market. They will also not take Mineral Oil off the market, even though it has been reported as having killed small children who have drank it. They only want to put a "warning label" on products containing harmful and known carcinogens and feel that is enough to protect consumers..

We all ask ourselves "Which one should I choose?" Think about a time when you might ask yourself this question, probably everyday. The choices you make are important, especially when they concern your health. You need to learn how to make wise decisions about the health products and services you buy and use.

How Can you Become a Wise Health Consumer?

Perhaps you think there is nothing much to learn about buying products. Wise, shopping, however, is not always that simple. Many people have learned that the most costly products are not always the best ones. Questions you should ask before you buy are

What ingredients are in the product and what do they mean? Can I buy something better if I take more time to look and think about it?

Who Can Help you Become a Wise Health Consumer?

Public Health Educators, Health Care professionals, nurses, pharmacists, doctors can give you some advice about health care products. The library has a good source of materials that can help you be a smart shopper, such as Dr. Sam Epstein's and David Steinmanís, Safe Shoppers Bible, Judi Vance's Beauty to Die, Donít Go to the Cosmetic Counter Without me, and Aubrey Organics book about the toxins in products. News reports and scientific articles are good sources also. Also the www and FDA website has some information about products. And Material Safety Data Sheets list all the chemicals that are in our everyday products and their measure of safety or hazard. Almost every University has these sheets.

How Can Advertising Influence You as a Consumer

Advertisements are sources of information that help make people aware of different products or services. Some ads give helpful information about a product. Not all give you the information you need and want. Some give scientific claims and those can be checked out with the facts in writing. The product may or may not be a good choice for you.

Some companies spend millions of dollars each year developing advertising promos to sell their products. Often the price of a shampoo is higher simply because it comes in a fancy container, but in reality the cap on the bottle costs more than the shampoo itself.

What does the Cancer Prevention Coalition recommend for us as consumers to do?

The Cancer Prevention Coalition urges the public to do the following things to greatly reduce the risk of cancer and safeguard their health from other diseases and birth defects

1- Check your products for obvious hazardous chemicals such as propylene glycol, cocoamide DEA, lauramide DEA, TEA, MEA, sodium lauryl and laureth sulfates, synthetic glycerin, lanolin, sodium fluoride, polyethylene glycol, PG, PEG, mineral oil, coal tar, petrolatum, petroleum, forms of titanium dioxide

2. - Only manufacturers of safe products deserve your business.

Only use products from companies that provide proof that they do not use known toxins, carcinogens, or reproductive hazardous chemicals in their products. Natural products are no longer good enough. Poison ivy is natural, but plants do not always contain safe chemicals. Again, safe products might cost a few cents more, but you will save time, money, health, and sick leave in the long run.

"Our goal is to encourage industry to provide consumers more information and to produce safer products by reducing reliance on toxic chemicals."

Wouldn't you rather lather with effective, safe products rather than carcinogens or controversial ingredients? I simply switched from buying the harmful kind to buying the "safe" kind.

It has been my pleasure to have presented this information to you. If you have any questions and would like to read more information, you may find the information on my website

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