CHICAGO, IL, November 3, 2005 --/WORLD-WIRE/--
Launched in 1989 by the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and
Fragrance Association (CTFA) and the National
Cosmetology Association, the Look Good . . . Feel Better
Program is "dedicated to teaching women cancer patients
beauty techniques to help restore their appearance and
self-image during cancer treatment." About 30,000 breast
and other cancer patients participate yearly, each
receiving a free makeover and bag of makeup.
Just what could be more noble? Or so it might just seem.
The Look Good Program is supported by 22 CTFA-member
cosmetic companies, including multibillion-dollar
household name global giants. Each year, member
companies "donate over one million individual cosmetic
and personal care products, valued at $10 million, and
raise more than $2 million." The Program is administered
nationwide by the American Cancer Society (ACS), "which
manages volunteer training, and serves as the primary
source of information to the public."
There is no doubt that the products donated by the
cosmetic companies, such as eye and cheek colors,
lipsticks, moisture lotions, pressed powders and other
makeups, are restorative. However, there is also no
doubt that the ACS and the companies involved are
oblivious to or strangely silent on the dangers of the
Look Good products, whose ingredients are readily
absorbed through the skin.
A review of 12 Look Good products, marketed by six
companies, reveals that 10 contain dangerous chemical
ingredients. Based on longstanding scientific evidence,
these pose risks of cancer, and also hormonal (endocrine
Evidence for the cancer risks is based on standard tests
in rodents, and on human (epidemiological) studies.
Evidence for the hormonal risks is based on test-tube
tests with breast cancer cells, or by stimulating
premature sexual development in infant rodents.
Unbelievably, the ACS explicitly warns women undergoing
chemotherapy --- "Don't use hormonal creams."
Take for example Estée Lauder's LightSource Transforming
Moisture Lotion, Chanel's Sheer Lipstick, and Merle
Norman Eye Color. These products contain ingredients
which are carcinogenic, contaminated with carcinogens,
or precursors of carcinogens. The products also contain
hormonal ingredients, known as parabens, one of which
has been identified in breast cancer tissue, and
incriminated as a probable cause of breast cancer.
The ACS silence with regard to the risks of the Look
Good products extends more widely to cosmetics and
personal care products used by women, personal care
products used by men, and baby lotions and shampoos.
This silence is also consistent with the imbalanced
objectives of the ACS highly publicized annual "Breast
Cancer Awareness Month." While dedicated to the early
detection of breast cancer, this event is silent on a
wide range of its avoidable causes, besides the
escalating incidence of post-menopausal breast cancer,
by nearly 40%, over the last three decades.
Of likely relevance to the ACS silence is its
interlocking interests with the cosmetic, besides other
industries. The major Look Good companies are among some
350 ACS "Excalibur Donors," each donating a minimum of
$10,000 annually. Other donors include petrochemical,
power plant, and hazardous waste industries, whose
environmental pollutants have been incriminated as
causes of breast, besides other, cancers. Not
surprisingly, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the
nation's leading charity watchdog, has charged that "The
ACS is more interested in accumulating wealth than
The ACS silence is also shared by the National Cancer
Institute (NCI), which is required by the 1971 National
Cancer Act to provide the public with information on
avoidable causes of cancer. In spite of $50 billion
taxpayers funding since 1971, the NCI has joined with
the ACS in denying the public's right to know of
avoidable causes of cancer from industrial chemicals,
radiation, and common prescription drugs. Both the NCI
and ACS are locked at the hip in policies fixated on
damage control-screening, diagnosis, treatment and
treatment-related research-with indifference to cancer
prevention due to avoidable exposures to chemical
carcinogens in cosmetics, other consumer products, air
Equally asleep at the wheel remains the Food and Drug
Administration in spite of its explicit regulatory
authority. The 1938 Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act
explicitly requires that "The label of cosmetic products
shall bear a warning statement . . . to prevent a health
hazard that may be associated with a product."
No wonder the nation is losing the winnable war against
Samuel S. Epstein, M.D.
Professor Emeritus Environmental & Occupational Medicine
University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public
Chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition
2005 Albert Schweitzer
Golden Grand Medalist for International Contributions to
healthy products without carcinogens or controversial ingredients