Friday, October 16, 2015

Teflon in Face Cream? Carcinogen in White Bread? Chemicals Really Are Everywhere...

Two major studies were published this week that found chemicals linked to cancer (and banned in many countries) in a staple of the American diet and a major cosmetic brand's face creams.


The Environmental Working Group published a study that found that the flour used in many commercial baked goods include an additive that has been linked to cancer. Yes, that wholesome yummy bread you use to prepare you child's favorite sandwich could be exposing them to a very toxic chemical.

The chemical is potassium bromate. The reason it is used is to make the bread more white and fluffy in appearance.

What breads were found to have potassium bromate?

EWG found the chemical in over 86 baked goods and other food products, including well-known brands and products such as Hormel Foods breakfast sandwiches, Weis Kaiser rolls and French toast, and Goya turnover pastry dough. The full list can be found at the Environmental Working Group's

If the FDA allows the use of this chemical in bread is it really that bad? Can it cause cancer?

Well, in 1999 the International Agency for Research on Cancer labelled potassium bromate a a possible human carcinogen. The United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil and the European Union have either banned the chemical or do not allow it to be used as a food additive. The state of California requires food with potassium bromate to carry a warning label... so the answer seems to be yes.

Animal tests have found that potassium bromate increased incidence of cancer in the thyroid, kidneys, and other organs.

As if that is not bad enough, other studies have found that potassium bromate damaged DNA in the liver and intestines.

Bottom Line

It is insane that a chemical that could potentially be so harmful would be used in a staple of most American's daily diet- just to make the bread look whiter. totally unnecessary and potentially quite harmful.

What can I do?
The best thing to do is look at the list of products found to contain potassium bromite and avoid them. Additionally you should sign the petition that has been started to tell Goya, Hormel Foods and other brands to stop using potassium bromate in their products immediately.


Most women use anti aging skin lotions on a daily basis. It is part of our daily routine. According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics it seems some of us might be unknowingly smearing a toxic chemical used in Teflon non-stick pans all over our largest organ: our skin.

Implicated products
Three anti-aging creams from the well known brands Garnier and CoverGirl were found to contain dangerous levels of PFOA.
  • Garnier Ultra-Lift Transformer Anti-age Skin Corrector 
  • Garnier Ultra-Lift Anti-Wrinkle Firming Moisturizer 
  • Cover Girl Advanced Radiance with Olay, Age Defying Pressed Powder

Cover Girl Advanced Radiance with Olay,
Age Defying Pressed Powder
Why is this chemical bad for 
As the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics explains: " Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a probable contaminant of Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a common ingredient of anti-aging products for the sleek and smooth finish it creates. PTFE is also known as Teflon, which is used in nonstick cookware. PFOA is a carcinogen, endocrine disruptor and reproductive toxin. PFOA is ubiquitous in wildlife and can be detected in almost every U.S. adult. PFOA persists in the human body for years"
Garnier Ultra-Lift Anti-Wrinkle Firming Moisturizer

There are very strong links between this chemical and breast cancer. Pregnant women exposed to this chemical also expose their fetuses- and the repercussions for their baby's health can potentially be even more severe since they are being exposed at such a vulnerable stage of development.

Teflon has been found to be so toxic that the company that makes Teflon non-stick pans , Dupont, has agreed to phase it out of their products by the end of this year (2015). Definitely no need to be placing this chemical on our largest organ; our skin.

What can I do?
Due to REALLY BAD laws in the US, the cosmetic industry does not have to disclose the ingredients they use in any personal care product. This means they can, and do, use any amount of any ingredient they want, including chemicals linked to cancer, reproductive and developmental harm, hormone disruption and other adverse health impacts, since no government agency requires them to be tested for safety. In essence, the cosmetic industry can use us all as guinea pigs.

The problem in the US is so bad that while the European Union has banned over 1,100 chemicals from use in beauty products, the US has banned about 11.

Using one product with one harmful chemical probably will not harm you, the problem is that we all use many different products (think about it: shampoo, conditioner, body wash/soap, face cream, anti aging serums, body moisturizer, foundation, lipstick, mascara, sunscreen etc) every single day- and are exposed to a host of chemicals throughout the day (flame retardants in furniture and cars, phthalates in fragrance and plastics, pesticides in food, chemicals in water etc). The combination of all of these chemicals is a toxic overload that does lead to long term health effects.

Also, there are plenty of anti-aging creams in the market that do not use the Teflon chemical.... so there is no need to resort to these products.

So, what to do? Avoid the products listed here and try a non-toxic or less toxic face cream. Brands like BeautyCounter, Juice Beauty, Lumene, all of which I have used are all good options that do not expose you to cancer causing, endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Especially important is to not use these products if you are pregnant.

However it is always good to check and avoid if any of these chemicals are listed on the ingredients labels:

  • Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)
  • Polyperfluoromethylisopropyl Ether, 
  • DEA-C8-18 Perfluoroalkylethyl Phosphate
  • Teflon

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