Cadmium in Make-Up Linked to Breast Cancer

    Worrying report from WDDTY enews: long term low level exposure to minute amounts of cadmium – found in everyday cosmetics – can stimulate breast cancer cells and make them more aggressive according to research done by the Dominican University of California. Gulp. Immediately I wanted to know which cosmetics!

A recent international report on branded cosmetics by the Ontario-based environmental organization Environmental Defence examined 49 popular makeup products, and discovered the presence of cadmium in a little over half the products tested, which included foundations, powders, concealers, bronzers, eyeliners, eye shadows, lip glosses and lipsticks. 

Those with the highest levels of cadmium included NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss, Cover Girl Perfect Point Plus Eyeliner and Cover Girl Ultimate Finish Liquid Powder Makeup. Clinique Stay True Foundation, Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage and L’Oréal Bare Naturale Mascara were also found to contain cadmium. Seven of the eight heavy metals tested for were found in virtually all of the 49 popular products save one: Annabelle Mineral Pigment Dust (Solar).  

These results are worrying, considering the amount of makeup the average woman slaps on her face. According to a 2004 report by the US-based Environmental Working Group (EWG), the average woman applies around 12 makeup products per day that contain, on aggregate, 168 unique ingredients. What this adds up to is that one in 13 women is being exposed to substances that are confirmed or probable carcinogens. Furthermore, the EWG discovered that at least 146 cosmetics ingredients include impurities, such as cadmium, that are linked to cancer.

You can read the WDDTY report here (full for members). And I have found the original report: Heavy Metal Hazards, which lists all the products tested and their results.

The answer – as I have wittered on about for years – is to choose safer brands like Weleda, Green People, Dr Haushka etc. They are probably not perfect – is anything? – but they will be much safer for everyday use. Check the Non-Toxic Toiletries section on the website here. You’ll find my hot picks and a free list of chemicals you should be looking for on labels. No brainer as far as I’m concerned.

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