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Petrolatum - Impurities in Petroleum Jelly or commonly known as Vaseline, under suspicion as a carcinogen in Breast Cancer - Petrolatum Banned in products in the EU - Long term damage to health becoming evident - side effects from impurities in the manufacturing process implicated in causing cancer!

Impurities of Concern

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Breast cancer and impurities. EWG's assessment of product ingredient labels and data on cancer-causing chemicals identified three common impurities in personal care products that are linked to mammary tumors in animal studies — ethylene oxide, PAHs, and 1,3-butadiene.

The ingredients for which these impurities are of concern are used in one of every four personal care products on the market.

Among girls born today, one in eight is expected to get breast cancer and one in 30 is expected to die from it (NCI 1996, 1997, 2000). A review by scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shows that as many as one of every five chemical carcinogens causes mammary tumors in laboratory studies, indicating that the breast is more sensitive to carcinogens than almost any other tissue in the body (Gold et al. 1991). EWG's identification of three impurities linked to breast cancer does not represent a full accounting of possible mammary carcinogens in personal care products. Instead, it is a partial accounting based on the National Toxicology Program's assessment of mammary carcinogens (NTP 2000) and other sources in the peer-reviewed literature. Further study would likely identify additional ingredients in personal care products that raise concerns with respect to breast cancer.

PAHs. PAHs, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, are common contaminants in petrolatum, also called petroleum jelly and sold under well-known brand names like Vaseline. Petrolatum is found in one of every 14 products on the market (7.1 percent of the products assessed by EWG), including 15 percent of all lipstick and 40 percent of al baby lotions and oils. FDA restricts petrolatum in food to no more than 10 parts per million, and requires petrolatum used in food packaging or drugs to meet impurity restrictions for PAHs (21 CFR 178, 21 CFR 172.880).

But the agency allows any amount of petrolatum of any purity in personal care products, many of which are applied directly to the lips and swallowed.

Manufacturers would find no legal impediments to using the same unregulated petrolatum in personal care products as can be used in shoe polish.

Among the studies linking the petrolatum impurity PAHs to breast cancer is a Columbia University study in which researchers found that the breast tissue of women with breast cancer was 2.6 times more likely to contain elevated levels of PAHs bound to DNA (called DNA adducts) than the breast tissue of women without breast cancer (Rundle et al. 2000). The National Toxicology Programs finds that some PAHs are reasonable anticipated to be human carcinogens, and the State of California lists a number of PAHs as carcinogens in its Proposition 65 program (NTP 2002, OEHHA 2004).

Petrolatum is listed as a probable human carcinogen in the European Union's Dangerous Substances Directive (UNECE 2004), and its use in cosmetics will be banned by September 2004 with the following caveat:

“The classification as a carcinogen need not apply if the full refining history is known and it can be shown that the substance from which it is produced is not a carcinogen.”

Chemical industry sources have interpreted this clause to mean that petrolatum will continue to be allowed in cosmetics in the EU if it is refined and meets PAH purity standards for food set by FDA (Faust and Casserly 2003). Even this purity standard does not set direct limits on PAH content, but instead relies on a light absorption test as an indirect indicator of contamination.

In the U.S. no requirement for refinement applies for petrolatum in personal care products. Some manufacturers likely choose refined petrolatum low in PAHs, but perhaps some do not.

Product labels do not uniformly show the “USP” certification on the petrolatum listing in EWG's ingredient label database, and in any event, the certification criteria for a USP listing are not public.

Some product labels include the term “skin protectant” in parentheses after the petrolatum listing, an indication that the petrolatum has been refined and meets FDA requirements for drug applications.

But in most cases a consumer buying a product containing petrolatum has no way to know if the ingredient is low in carcinogenic PAHs or not.



Health-Report Comment:

Well folks, it never stops does it?

How many of you would ever have thought, a ubiquitous substance such as good ol' Petroleum Jelly or Vaseline as so many of us have come to call it over the last 50 years,  is now a suspected and probable carcinogen because of the way it is manufactured?. Contaminants from petrolatum are being found in most breast cancer tissues which have been studied in recent times.

You know, I keep beating the same drum about these so called safe chemicals! Just because we have become used to using synthetic chemicals on the skin, it doesn't mean to say they have been beneficial in the long run to our health. FAR FROM IT! In fact, some of these toxic chemicals, may well have contributed to the cancer, a friend or loved one of yours, contracted and died from, in recent times. 

Yes we all know people, loved ones and friends who have been cut down by this cancer scourge.

Every single one of us in Westernized society, knows someone who has died of cancer in the last 12 months. It's a frightening and awful reality, that the rate we contract cancer, is approaching 1 in every 2 people and will probably exceed this rate within twenty years!

It's only YOU who can do something about it by educating people you know to the dangers and by voting NO to chemicals simply by reading the labels! If the label has words on it you can't pronounce, then put it back on the shelf and don't run the risk of doing long term damage to your own health. You need to start explaining to people you know about reading labels and keeping the toxic chemicals out of their system.

You can actually be paid to do this if you join the Organic Movement and promote safe non toxic products like we do here at the Health-Report website.

CERTIFIED ORGANIC is the only guarantee you have of being chemical free. If you support the organic industry then you will not only be healthier and happier but you are also helping to save the planet from an impending disaster!

You have one life - live it safely by avoiding chemicals!

Geoff Goldie





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