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Toxins & Peanut Products in Clarins Cosmetics Causing 'Pandemic,' According to the National Toxic Encephalopathy Foundation.

LAS VEGAS -- Is your life worth a scent?

Perfumes and other cosmetics may make you smell good and look good, but they have the potential of making you seriously ill or worse - killing you.

Consumers shouldn't need a degree in chemistry in order to use the products produced by cosmetic companies, but it would help.

Polyacrylic acid. Methyl paraben. Dipropropylene glycol. Sodium benzoate. Ethyl paraben. Propyl paraben. Eugenol. d-Limonene. alpha Pinene. 3-carene. alpha Guarene. Diethyl Phthalate. Azulene.

These are a few of the chemicals that are commonly found in some cosmetics and fragrances.

And then there is the peanut (Botanical name Arachis Hypogaea). According to a 2002 survey by The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), one out of every 125 children in the United States (more than 600,000) is allergic to peanuts.

Yet hydrogenated peanut oil is one of the three main other ingredients in a sunscreen product commonly applied to children by caring parents who are unaware of the potential hazard - Ultra Protection Sun Control Stick, manufactured by the cosmetic giant Clarins Paris.

Clarins does not put a warning label on this product and if you purchase it you are putting your health and the health of your children at risk, says John Sheppard.

Sheppard is the director of the United Kingdom's branch of the National Toxic Encephalopathy Foundation (NTEF), which is based in Las Vegas.

According to the NTEF, Clarins is not only the biggest cosmetics corporation in the world, but also the biggest culprit in deceptive labeling.

"We have been researching the mislabeling that is rampant in most of their cosmetics and specifically in their best selling fragrance, Angel Perfume by Thierry Mugler," says Sheppard.

Sheppard also cited the use of peanut oil in Clarins' Extra Comfort Toning Lotion and its Aromatic Plant Purifying Mask.

Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFD&C Act), all packaged foods that are labeled on or after January 1, 2006, must comply with FALCPA's food allergen labeling requirements. One of these listed allergens is peanuts. "Who would have suspected that cosmetics now need food labeling as well?" asks Sheppard. "Clarins also claims that these products are allergy tested, but what allergy is tested?

"The science is horrifying," Sheppard said. "A preponderance of the ingredients have never been tested for safety or their toxicological effects. The reason we are targeting Clarins is that we can speak with confidence on the ingredients, inadequate and invalid testing of Angel Perfume, along with the other discrepancies we are finding in their other products."

As one of Clarins' most popular products, Angel Perfume, for example, has the potential to cause damage to mucous membranes, irritation to eyes, nose and throat and damage to the brain, liver and kidneys and possibly lung and skin damage, said nationally recognized toxicologist Dr. Richard Lipsey, from Jacksonville, FL.

One of the over a dozen chemicals in Angel Perfume is Benzophenone-2, which Dr. Lipsey says is used as a pesticide, known to attack the endocrine and reproduction systems, liver, kidneys, possible renal tubule adenoma and is a carcinogen.

According to Dr. Lipsey, the perfume contains many other chemicals which are regulated by OSHA and the EPA and require special handling. Among them are Diethyl Phthalate, which attacks the brain, lungs and can cause peripheral neuropathy, and Azulene, which attacks the eyes, lungs, skin, destroys DNA and attacks the immune system.

In a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) released by Clarins on June 5, 2006 - part of a court document - the company admitted that Angel Perfume contained a "presence of significant amounts of ingredients classified as Dangerous according to the EEC (European Economic Commission)," a fact confirmed by independent laboratory analysis and studies.

Clarins Paris claims most of its cosmetic products are made with plant extracts, and some are alcohol free and allergy tested. In reality, their disclosed ingredients discredit the claims on their labels.

Products such as their Extra Comfort Toning Lotion are touted as being "alcohol free with plant extracts, allergy tested and especially formulated for dry and sensitized skin."

However, their label cites the following alcohols: phenoxyenthanol, panthenol, triethanolamine, propylene glycol, benzyl alcohol and anise alcohol.

Sheppard says the label is contradictory. "If this product is designed for sensitized skin why incorporate ingredients that carry warnings of skin irritants?"

The label revealed that among the potentially hazardous chemicals in their Extra Comfort Toning Lotion are polyacrylic acid, methyl paraben (paraben sensitization may occur when substance is applied to damaged or broken skin), dipropropylene glycol, sodium benzoate, ethyl paraben, propyl paraben, eugenol (may cause skin sensitization, upon re-exposure).

"Parabens have the potential for breast cancer and potential endocrine disruptors, raising concern for impaired fertility/development and increased risks for certain cancers," according to the report from the Environmental Working Groups (EWG) site Skin Deep. The site lists cosmetics and fragrances along with their ingredients whenever possible. The consumer normally is given the list of ingredients, but the health implications are missing. Skin Deep groups the chemicals into classifications such as hazards (kidney, liver, skin or sense organs), irritants, reproductive or developmental harm, toxic to cite a few.

This site is an excellent source of reference to anyone who is concerned about what possible health effects are inherent in the products that they are applying to their body.

The most recent government figures show that 15.9% of the U.S. population is chemically intolerant and is at risk to experiencing a host of debilitating problems from various fragrances and cosmetics - asthma attacks, birth defects, cancer and adult male sperm DNA damage, to name a few. This equates to millions of people who have become disabled because of the health implications from personal care items and fragrances that are not fully tested for safety. "The industry is self-regulated and the public is the victim of corporate greed," said Sheppard.

"This amounts to a perfume/fragrance pandemic," says Dr. Jack Thrasher, Ph.D., a Houston toxicologist who once worked as a consultant to cosmetics manufacturers and now serves as spokesperson for the NTEF.

The NTEF is especially concerned about Clarins Paris because their products give the illusion of being safe and natural and people believe they have been thoroughly tested. However, NTEF asserts that Clarins' testing procedures are suspect.

According to NTEF, from information disclosed in court documents, Clarins' 1999 dermatological safety testing for Angel Perfume, by Harrison Laboratories, was done on pre-screened subjects that did not statistically represent the general public, thus rendering the findings invalid. In order to have an accurate random sampling you cannot pre-screen the subjects. Clarins' 1999 Ocular Tolerance test which clearly confirms that Angel Perfume is "very irritating" to the cornea cells is never disclosed. None of this is referenced by Clarins regarding Angel Perfume.

Clarins in their sales training literature attempts to create the illusion of "breaking the rules of traditional olfactory territory" with claims of peach, apricot, passion fruit, mango, dewberry, honey, vanilla, caramel and a hint of chocolate," which are not part of their formula. In reality, some of the chemicals in Angel Perfume are described as having a turpentine odor. Clarins Paris has been given the opportunity to join the Safe Cosmetics Campaign (SCC), a coalition of public health, educational, religious, labor, women's, environmental and consumer groups, but they have consistently elected not to participate.

SCC's goal is to protect the health of consumers and workers by requiring the health and beauty industry to phase out the use of chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems and replace them with safer alternatives.

The NTEF says in order to join the campaign, Clarins' products would have to be reformulated because they do carry health risks, and Clarins continues to refuse to disclose the ingredients to the public especially in their fragrances.

However, in the fine print on the container or box of some of their cosmetics, Clarins in their list of ingredients does confirm that the product is not all plant extracts, but in fact, a chemical soup with a sprinkling of botanicals to quantify their advertising of "fresh, gentle, extreme comfort," said Sheppard.

The fragrance/cosmetic industry has come under international attack from many organizations - including environmental groups, physicians, cities, schools, hospitals and businesses that have banned fragrances or products containing fragrances.

To counter-attack, the industry is planning to launch in January 2007 a major publicity campaign to try to convince the public that small amounts of toxins are in fact not harmful.

NTEF says the industry's future is at stake and it is preparing to defend itself with an omission of significant facts.

"What they will not tell you is that the body is storing these small amounts of toxins and they are in fact implicated in a myriad of health issues," says Sheppard.

"Don't be fooled. They are out for profit, not beauty enhancement. Drop by drop, soon the glass will be full and overflowing, that is what is happening with these small amounts of toxins going on your body and into your body, that the industry wants you to believe are at safe and acceptable levels."

Thrasher notes that the cosmetics industry doesn't do a thorough job of testing its products because it is expensive and it doesn't want to spend the money.

"It is very costly to do appropriate human studies," Thrasher says, "but we either want the toxins eliminated completely or have the ingredients fully disclosed on product packaging."

NOTE TO EDITOR: A high-resolution photo of Dr. Thrasher can be downloaded at, key word National Toxic Encephalopathy Foundation. For additional information, contact Russ Fons Public Relations at (702) 658-7654.
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Date:Nov 1, 2006
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