Chemical Carcinogens in our everyday products

There are both natural and synthetic chemical carcinogens. These carcinogenic substances cause or hasten cancer in humans and animals.

Cancer-causing chemicals are found in all kinds of everyday products, including:

  • beauty & personal care products
  • household products
  • clothing
  • wine
  • fruits (residues from pesticides)
  • plastics

Cancer causing ingredients

Research has shown that even low doses to certain chemicals in our environment can pose a risk of cancer. To make it more complicated, there is also a suspicion that low doses of substances which, in themselves, are not carcinogenic, could in combination with other substances cause cancer.

If you want to limit your exposure to cancer causing ingredients in deodorants, makeup, sunscreen or any other cosmetic product, use our Free Ingredient Scanner (available in Chrome Webstore!).

“According to current evidence, between 30% and 50% of cancer deaths could be prevented by modifying or avoiding key risk factors, including avoiding tobacco products, reducing alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy body weight, exercising regularly and addressing infection-related risk factors”.– The World Health Organisation (WHO)

Carcinogenic category

What causes cancer?

Cancer is a genetic disease. Some forms of cancer are hereditary but most are caused by gene changes that we “acquire” during life. The gen changes that cause cancer are usually acquired during a long time, not seldom during several decades.

This is why most cancers occur in high age. The Swedish Cancer Society writes that chemicals and other carcinogens in combination with other risk factors, such as smoking, significantly increase the risk of cancer.

Cancer-causing chemicals numerous sources

The Swedish Chemicals (state) Agency (KEMI) urges consumers to avoid all products with direct and prolonged skin contact if they contain carcinogenic substances.

As mentioned above, this includes not only cosmetics and personal care products but also clothes, furniture, bedsheets, toys, soft plastic, etc.

There are numerous everyday products that have been impregnated, colored, or simply manufactured using chemical carcinogens.  This, unfortunately, means that most of us are exposed to carcinogenic substances on a daily basis, even if it is in small doses.

If there is no ingredients list available, ask the manufacturer to get a list of the chemicals used in the manufacture of the product that you want to buy.

This is especially advisable if it regards products that you will use for a long time and with “prolonged skin contact” such as beds, clothing couches or mattresses. And especially-especially if the product is for babies or children. Most companies will have it, as required by law, but will not advertise it.

If you need help reviewing the chemical list you have received – Use the Ingredient Scanner to instantly see results or send it to Curious Chloride and we will be happy to assist you!

EU has a chemical legislation that classifies certain substances as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction (CRM).

Up until 2016 these substances were automatically prohibited for use in cosmetics. This is not the case anymore, as the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) reports.

Lobbying from industry associations to allow CRM’s in cosmetics resulted in a new, more loose, interpretation of the current laws. This means that CMR substances that were previously prohibited could now be allowed to be used in cosmetics, and will probably stay on the market for the foreseeable time.

The case brought forward by the industry association was focused on the substance preservative called Polyaminopropyl biguanide (PHMB), but is considered to be guiding.

As always, we recommend only buying products with a full list of ingredients, and especially in regards to this topic – read the contents of products carefully. If PHMB or other chemical carcinogens are found in products, our Ingredient Scanner will mark those red.

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