San Diego, CA (PRWEB) January 26, 2007
Two thousand and seven will prove a benchmark year for cosmetic safety laws. First, the Food and Drug Administration decides if the skin whitening drug hydroquinone is safe. Next, California enacts its Safe Cosmetics Act of 2005 which requires California cosmetics manufacturers to report product ingredients linked to cancer or birth defects to the state's Department of Health Services.
With such heavy new regulation, it makes consumers wonder if their skin care products are a beauty aid or death device. According to Naweko Nicole Dial, president of the San Diego based skin research firm Noixia, "Even though the debates seem to be about weeding out cancer causing agents in cosmetics, the core problem with determining cosmetic safety is laboratory testing."
As Dial explains, "If you look at the evidence on both sides of the cosmetics safety debate between health activists and industry manufacturer's you have people arguing about how to design and interpret ingredient safety and carcinogenicity tests."
Dial explains that activists base consumer safety arguments on an ingredient's potential to cause cancer in animals. Members of the medical and cosmetic industries rebuff such claims as unfounded because of the format of these studies and inherent differences between animals and humans.
"On one side of the issue," explains Dial, "groups like the American Council on Science and Health argues that when activists complain about test results that conclude that ingredients like parabens [a type of preservative] or phthalates [common nail polish ingredient] are cancer-causing, such finding are based on misguided tests and test interpretations."
Moreover, organizations like the American Council on Science point out that carcinogenicity tests involve giving animals oral doses of the chemical in quantities that are not even available in- and often times not allowed to be used in- such quantities in cosmetics because of federal safety regulations.
This type of reasoning, adds Dial, "Encourages the conclusion that if a mouse eats high does of a chemical and dies from cancer then that agent, in any quantity, in any form will cause cancer in humans." But, says Dial, "A new trend in chemical testing will alter this type of linear reasoning about the causes of cancer."
Dial and Noixia support the efforts of the activist group Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics wants manufactures to meet the standards set by the European Union Cosmetics Directive, a body that sets policies for cosmetic safety.
Yet, Dial points out, "This January the European Union Cosmetics Directive recognized a need to improve the way scientists conduct carcinogenicity tests."
In a report in Mutagenesis, the EU Cosmetics Directive acknowledged the upsurge of information concerning the cellular and molecular events that lead to cancer. Dial reports, "Like the American Council of Science and Health argued, the EU Cosmetics Directive admitted that there is a need for more accurate approaches to determine genotoxicity and carcinogenicity."
Dial feels that, "As a scientific community, manufacturers are moving to identify the exact causes of cancer." For example, thanks to the Breast Cancer Fund, the first-ever statewide biomonitoring program in California will start to measure the "pollution in people" by analyzing blood, urine and other biospecimens for the presence of toxic chemicals.
Dial predicts, "Eventually, this type of human specific testing and more specialized lab tests will help consumers and manufacturers alike better understand what agents, and in what quantities, do and do not cause cancer in humans."
While manufacturers, scientists and activists to continue refining how to design and interpret carcinogenicity tests, Dial suggests that "Consumer can take a more active role in understanding how cancer-causing agents are discovered, by visiting the National Toxicology Program's website", at http://ntp-server.niehs.nih.gov. Similarly, the Breast Cancer Fund offers health enthusiast ways to avoid cancer-causing chemicals at http://www.sbreastcancerfund.org.
Noixia is an image makeover research firm dedicated to helping people intelligently, affordably and safely enhance their image. Noixia's core focus is offering customized skin solutions for individuals with acne scars on the face and body. Noixia's product development edge is based on proprietary skin absorption techniques, key ingredient release mechanisms and innovative wound healing treatments.