Posts filed under ‘Press Release’

Cancer and Anti-Aging Creams

CHICAGO, IL, October 6, 2009 –/WORLD-WIRE/– Anti-aging skin products are known as cosmeceuticals, as they overlap the distinction between cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. These products are the fastest growing sales sector of the entire cosmetics industry, and are widely marketed as being safe. But Cancer Prevention Coalition Chairman Dr. Samuel S. Epstein warns that altering the physical structure of skin with chemicals to look more youthful comes at a hidden price to the skin, and even more so to overall health.

The term cosmeceutical, applied to anti-wrinkle and anti-aging creams, was first adopted by the cosmetics industry in 1984. It was developed as a way to avoid subjecting the industry’s claims to the authority of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The idea was to create a new category of products that did more than just improve the appearance of the skin, yet do somewhat less than pharmaceutical drugs.

But Dr. Epstein wants to alert consumers to the dangers of cosmeceuticals, including the increased risk of skin cancer.

In addition, he is urging the new FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D. to take “appropriate regulatory action to protect the unsuspecting public from the dangers of cosmeceuticals.”

Here is what we know of the overwhelming majority of cosmeceuticals, says Dr. Epstein, based on toxicology and clinical testing.

To increase the permeability of skin, hydroxy acids are widely sold on store shelves and used in cosmetic salons. Both alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA), and beta-hydroxy acids (BHA) are common ingredients in cosmeceuticals.

Worse still, Dr. Epstein warns, AHAs are used in an estimated 5 percent of all products without any labeling to this effect.

Even the industry’s Cosmetics Ingredient Review Compendium has admitted that these ingredients strip the skin of its protective surface, which absorbs long-wave ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and tanning salons.

Apart from increased risks of sunburn, exposure to AHAs also increases risks of a dangerous skin cancer, known as malignant melanoma. Although it is one of the less common types of skin cancer, malignant melanoma is responsible for roughly 75 percent of all skin cancer-related deaths.

Reacting to these concerns, in 1992 the FDA issued a consumer warning that products containing these ingredients “could destroy the upper layers of skin, causing severe burns, swelling and pain.” However, the FDA took no regulatory action to protect consumers, and the agency still has taken no regulatory action, Dr. Epstein points out.

Bisabolol is another cosmeceutical ingredient which strips off the surface layers of skin. This chemical is also a penetration enhancer, meaning that it increases the absorption of cosmeceutical ingredients through the skin.

Limonene is also a common ingredient in anti-aging products. “Apart from being an irritant, it is a well documented carcinogen,” says Dr. Epstein.

Parabens are commonly added to cosmeceuticals as preservatives. However, Dr. Epstein cautions consumers that even when tested at low concentrations on the skin of pregnant rodents, parabens induce toxic hormonal effects in male embryos and infants.

“Nano-particles are more recent and ultra-dangerous ingredients in cosmeceuticals, particularly anti-wrinkle creams,” warns Dr. Epstein. “By reducing the size of ingredients to the ultra-microscopic scale, they penetrate readily and deeply through the skin into the blood and organs all over the body.”

“Ninety percent of all cosmetics sold in the world today are probably cosmeceuticals,” says Dr. Albert Kligman, the dermatologist who first coined the term, in a 2005 interview with the journal Dermatologic Surgery.

“The terminology regarding the distinction between cosmetics and drugs is a marketing game in the U.S.,” Kilgman said. “If you reverse aging, you are a drug. If you smooth skin, you are a cosmetic. Categorization depends more on the language on the bottle rather than the product in the bottle.”

Dr. Epstein says, “These statements raise troubling concerns regarding the identity and safety of ingredients in cosmeceutical products. So many women, and even some men, slather these products all over their skin, the largest body organ, in the naïve belief that they have nothing to fear but aging.”

“The industry markets cosmeceuticals with anecdotal or even wild claims of effectiveness, rather than scientific data, and with reckless disregard for safety,” Dr. Epstein cautions.

He points to a 2007 warning from the respected Mayo Clinic that cosmeceuticals have rarely been tested for safety, and also that they may contain “powerful active ingredients that can affect biological processes.”

Cosmeceutical manufacturers “make a calculated decision not to make claims that will result in scrutiny by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of the product as a drug,” stated Dr. Mary P. Lupo of the Tulane University School of Medicine in a 2005 issue of Dermatologic Surgery. “Clinical testing could also draw the attention of the FDA, so some manufacturers opt instead to allow the consumer arena to become the test market.”

“So there you have it!” Dr. Epstein says, “People who use cosmeceuticals are guinea pigs in reckless and self-serving industry experiments to test whether these products are safe for human health. This should be a loud siren wakeup warning for anyone who still believes that these products have been tested for toxicity by the industry, and approved by the FDA.”

In spite of these disturbing concerns, dermatologist Dr. Nicholas Perricone, author of three New York Times best selling books, is an active proponent of a “Men’s Skin Care Line,” his patented product based on nanoparticles.

Apart from the ineffectiveness of the great majority of cosmeceutical products, most are highly priced. In 2006, Consumer Reports magazine evaluated anti-wrinkle creams on the market, and concluded there was no correlation between price and possible effectiveness. “The best advice is prevent those wrinkles in the first place,” read the review. “Stay out of the sun and don’t smoke.”

Dr. Epstein says that the cosmeceutical product Restylane is an exception to his warnings. “This Swedish anti-wrinkling agent is based on the natural ingredient hyaluronic acid, one of the very few scientifically proven safe and effective cosmeceuticals,” he says.

Besides Botox injections, which have been on the market long enough to be accepted as safe, there are emerging green alternatives to the wide range of conventional anti-aging products now on store shelves.

Dr. Epstein says these include natural botanicals, such as date palm oil, which have been found to be safe and effective for certain types of wrinkles, and topical green tea cream, which has proven effective for treating sun damaged skin.

Dr. Epstein anticipates that Dr. Hamburg, the highly respected new FDA Commissioner, will take appropriate regulatory action to protect the unsuspecting public from the dangers of cosmeceuticals.

Samuel S. Epstein, M.D. is professor emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health; Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition; The Albert Schweitzer Golden Grand Medalist for International Contributions to Cancer Prevention; and author of over 200 scientific articles and 15 books on cancer, including the groundbreaking The Politics of Cancer (1979), and Toxic Beauty (2009).

Samuel S. Epstein, MD
Professor emeritus Environmental & Occupational Medicine
University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health
Chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition
Chicago, Illinois


October 18, 2009 at 5:09 pm Leave a comment

Hearing Back from Rep. Waxman

Just thought you’d like to know what my congressman is up to!

Dear Ms. Goldsmith:

Thank you for contacting me to express your support for H. Res. 727, the National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month resolution.  I was glad to hear from you.

I completely agree that we must do more to raise awareness about ovarian cancer and actively work to find effective treatments and a cure.  As you know, if ovarian cancer is diagnosed and treated at an early stage before the cancer spreads, the survival rate is as high as 90 percent.  I look forward to supporting H.Res. 727 and other efforts in Congress to promote early recognition of all forms of cancer.

One of the best ways to make progress in the fight against cancer is to adequately fund the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  Throughout my years in Congress, I have fought aggressively for the highest possible funding levels to research, treat and prevent illnesses, and have stressed the importance of understanding warning signs and the necessity of early testing. Earlier this year, I joined with other concerned Members of Congress in a letter to House appropriators requesting an increase of at least 7% in funding for NIH in Fiscal Year 2010.  You can view this letter at, and you can be sure I will do everything I can to ensure that NIH receives these funds.

With kind regards, I am



Member of Congress

September 29, 2009 at 5:30 pm Leave a comment

Give…and maybe win a new washer/dryer!

For A Cause

This September, Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Electrolux and Kelly Ripa are again stepping up to help raise support for OCRF.

Throughout the month, you can donate $5 to the cause1 by
texting the word “KELLY” to 85944
from your mobile phone – or by logging on to

Visitors to Kelly Confidential can further help the cause by sending a virtual T-shirt “T-mail” to a friend. For every T-mail sent, Electrolux will donate $1 to OCRF2.

In addition, every day you log on to the web site, you will be entered for a chance to win a luxury front load washer and dryer from Electrolux in Turquoise Sky, the color inspired by the teal ribbon of ovarian cancer awareness.

For more information, visit

1Standard text messaging rates apply
2With a minimum of $15K and a maximum of $20K

September 9, 2009 at 4:10 pm Leave a comment

National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month 2009

The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance sent the following press release.  They’ve also said that this Friday, September 4th, is the day we’re to wear the ovarian cancer color, teal.  Best wishes to you all!


Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release August 31, 2009

– – – – – – –


Ovarian cancer remains the leading cause of death from
gynecologic cancer among women in the United States. Every
year, thousands are diagnosed and go on to fight the disease
with grace and dignity. National Ovarian Cancer Awareness
Month honors all those affected by this cancer and renews our
commitment to fighting an illness that takes the lives of too
many in our Nation.

Women are often diagnosed with ovarian cancer when it is
already at an advanced stage. This problem can be attributed to
a lack of effective early detection technologies and minimal or
no specific symptoms associated with the disease. By learning
more about risk factors and maintaining regular physician
consultations, women have their best chance of early detection
of ovarian cancer.

Science continues to expand our knowledge about this
illness, promising hope to those who, years ago, would be
without it. Through dedicated research, treatment outcomes
have improved for many, and we are building a foundation for
the development of evidence-based screening, which can help
diagnose the disease at the earliest possible stage when the
likelihood of cure is high.

This month we recommit to supporting the women who continue
to battle valiantly against this malady as well as all families
who are affected. National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month helps
educate women and men about the importance of knowing common
signs and symptoms, scheduling routine doctor visits, and
continuing robust scientific research. As a Nation, we are
united in our resolve to reduce incidence and improve the lives
of all those affected.

United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in
me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby
proclaim September 2009 as National Ovarian Cancer Awareness
Month. I encourage citizens, Government agencies, private
businesses, nonprofit organizations, and other interested groups
to join in activities that will increase awareness of what
Americans can do to prevent and control ovarian cancer.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
thirty-first day of August, in the year of our Lord
two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States
of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.


September 1, 2009 at 8:11 pm 1 comment

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