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Tests for cancer

Cancers of all kinds are on the increase, and some cancers are altering their behaviours ( for example breast cancer mostly occurred in older women; now many young women are being diagnosed) Many researchers feel it has to do with changes in our environment: the food we eat, the water we drink, the substances we absorb through our skins, and the air we breathe.

These are just a couple of the many scientific researches suggesting a link between fragrance ingredients and cancer (more below  at the end of "Hormone Disruption" and many more in the scientific literature elsewhere).

Evaluation of carcinogenic potential of two nitro-musk derivatives, musk xylene and musk tibetene in a host-mediated in vivo/in vitro assay system” Apostolidis S., Chandcra T.,Demirhan I.,Cinati J., Doerr HW., Chandra A. The full study can be read at Anticancer Res, 2002 Sept-Oct; 22(5): 2657-62.

“We have developed a host-mediated assay system for detection of the transforming activity of chemical carcinogens on peritoneal macrophages. Carcinogenic substances administered intraperitoneally to NMRI mice could be examined in this way. ….Statistical analysis comparing cells from musk xylene- or musk tibeten-treated animals with those from control mice proved that the test is positive. Musk xylene and musk tibetene revealed a cell-transforming potential that showed a dose-dependent response… Animals injected subcutaneously with these cells developed tumours at the injection sites with 3 weeks of treatment. The experimental data reported here lead to the conclusion that musk xylene and musk tibetene have carcinogenic activity.”

Take-home message: Musk xylene and musk tibeten are two common fragrance ingredients. This study shows that these substances can cause cancer.

Evaluation of health risks caused by musk ketone”, Schmeiser H, Gminski R and Mersch-Sundermann V, from Univerisity of Heidelberg. The full study can be read in International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, Vol 23, issue 4, 2oo1, 293-299.

Musk ketone, a nitro musk, is widely used in cosmetics, Indian joss sticks and other products. It concentrates in human fatty tissue and breast milk, indicating that humans are constantly exposed. It was identified as a strong inducer of phase 1 enzymes[ enzymes that detoxify poisonous substances in the body] in rodents and a cogenotoxicant [damages cellular DNA, resulting in mutations or cancer] in human cells after low doses. This suggest that exposure to musk ketone might make humans more susceptible to carcinogens.

Take-home message: a commonly-used fragrance ingredient concentrates in the body and makes cells less able to ward off cancer-causing activity.

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