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Chemicals linked to cancer don’t belong in L’Oreal cosmetics


JANUARY 15, 2015

Erika Wilhelm, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners

SAN FRANCISCO—The director of science for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics issued the following response to L’Oreal USA, which is claiming via Twitter that the Campaign’s “Cosmetics Without Cancer” project is a “misinformation campaign.” The charge posted to Twitter by L’Oreal USA links to a statement issued by Beth Lange, Ph.D., the chief scientist of the cosmetics industry trade association, the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC).

Sharima Rasanayagam Ph.D., the Director of Science for the Breast Cancer Fund (BCF) and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, oversaw the research that found some L’Oreal products contained chemicals linked to cancer, including eye makeup, children’s shampoo, nail polish and more. The full report can be found here. 

Dr. Rasanayagam said: “The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics stands on very firm ground regarding its identification of chemicals in L’Oreal cosmetics products designated as possible, probable and known human carcinogens by well-respected, scientific authoritative bodies including the National Toxicology Program, Prop 65 and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. There’s no misinformation here.

The L’Oreal cosmetic chemicals linked to cancer identified by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics include both intentionally added ingredients (including formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, carbon black, benzophenone-1 and inhalable forms of titanium dioxide) and cosmetic chemicals likely to be contaminated with carcinogens (including polyacrylamide, polytetrafluoroethylene, polyperfluoromethylisopropyl ether and talc).

The good news is that L’Oreal is already making products without chemicals linked to cancer, proving they can. The question is why won’t L’Oreal make all cosmetics free from carcinogens? The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics stands firm on our science and on our demand that L’Oreal make a public commitment to make cosmetics without chemicals linked to cancer, because we’re worth it.”


Over the summer and fall of 2014, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics consulted a number of digital cosmetic databases to research the presence of carcinogens in cosmetics and personal care products manufactured by the world’s largest multinational cosmetic companies and then Campaign staff verified findings by reading product labels at various retail outlets.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ investigation of L’Oreal products revealed the use of chemicals linked to cancer in its eye makeup, as well as anti-aging creams, nail polish and hair products made by L’Oreal brands Maybelline and Garnier.


Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP) is the leading national science-based policy and advocacy organization working to prevent breast cancer by eliminating our exposure to toxic chemicals and radiation.

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