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Reckless Failure of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to Protect Against Cancer From Toxics in Cosmetics and GE Milk

CHICAGO, IL, June 16, 2010 --/WORLD-WIRE/-- The Cancer Prevention Coalition reminds the American public that the 1938 Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act explicitly stipulates: "Each ingredient used in a cosmetic product and each finished cosmetic product shall be adequately substantiated for safety prior to marketing."

In the absence of adequate evidence of safety, products must be conspicuously labeled on their principle display panel: "WARNING: THE SAFETY OF THIS PRODUCT HAS NOT BEEN DETERMINED." Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is authorized to pursue enforcement action after a product containing dangerous ingredients has been marketed.

However, warns Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, in spite of such explicit pre-and-post-marketing authority, the FDA has taken no regulatory action whatsoever over the last six decades, continuing until today, to protect the public from unknowing exposures to a wide range of toxic ingredients in cosmetic and personal care products. These include allergens, hormones, carcinogens and their precursors, and ultra-microscopic nanoparticles.

On November 17, 1994, the Cancer Prevention Coalition, the Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Prevention Foundation, and the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group filed a Citizens Petition to FDA Commissioner, David Kessler, M.D., on the dangers of talc, based on 17 scientific references dating back to the 1960's. These detailed evidence of major lethal risks of ovarian cancer, particularly in African-American women, from genital dusting with cosmetic grade talc. However, the Petition was rejected.

In May 2008, the Cancer Prevention Coalition, together with directors or representatives of six major national public health organizations, filed a further Petition to FDA Commissioner, Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, based on additional more recent scientific evidence, "seeking a cancer warning on cosmetic talc products." However, the FDA was again unresponsive.

Not surprisingly, on September 10, 1997, Senator Kennedy warned that "the cosmetic industry has borrowed a page from the playbook of the tobacco industry." However, says Dr. Epstein, this is an understatement, as cigarette packs carry an explicit cancer warning, and smoking is uncommon until early adult life. In striking contrast, exposure to cosmetics and personal care products can be lifelong, following their use by pregnant women, and absorption of toxic ingredients through the skin, into the blood and then reaching the fetus.

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