Toxic Beauty (2019) - full transcript

A documentary with exclusive access to scientists, lawyers, advocates, regulators, politicians, a dynamic whistle blower, survivors and women who have lost their lives. Follow the class action lawsuit against J&J and the plaintiffs.

Good morning, girls.

I'm going to talk to you this
morning about the way you look.

Now, I've heard it said that we
women attach too much importance

to our appearance.

But that isn't true.

After all, the way we look

exerts so much influence
on the way we feel,

and on the way other
people feel about us,

that it really is
very important.

As a French chef might say,

it's the little
touch of seasoning

that makes the dish just right.

ROSE MARIE: One of the
biggest cosmetic brands,

designer cosmetic brands,
in the world,

their ex-formulator
had contacted us.

He said...

"The cosmetic industry
is destroying women's cells."



And I said to him,
"Why don't you say something?"

He said, "I can't."

DR. SMITH: This cosmetics
issue is even bigger

than the tobacco industry,

because we're talking
about thousands

of different chemicals.

STACY: The same chemicals
being dumped

and running through
the rivers that are toxic,

are running through our blood.

DR. LANPHEAR: For some
of these chemicals,

millions of children will be
harmed before we actually decide

whether it's toxic or not.

DR. ZOTA: Skincare, hair,
feminine care products

have been associated
with reproductive problems,

ovarian cancer, pre-term birth,

mercury poisoning,
endocrine disruption.

JANET: The cosmetics
industry comes back

with their own science,
and they say,

"Oh, just a little bit of
a cancer-causing chemical."

DR. ZOTA: You have
no way of knowing

what's in your product.

DR. LANPHEAR: Wealthy, big
corporations don't allow

regulations to happen,
who allow people to be harmed.

SEN. KENNEDY: In cosmetics used

by women in this
country every day,

125 ingredients
suspected of causing cancer!

And the list goes on,
and on, and on!

DR. MICHAELS: Chemicals
are not like people.

They're not innocent until
they're proven guilty.

DR. CARSON: Unless we do
bring these chemicals

under better control, we are
certainly headed for disaster.

DR. BRODY: We don't
want to wait 60 years

to find out that some chemical
we use in hand lotion

is causing breast cancer.

[birds chirping]

MEL: In '99, I started going
overseas as a NATO peacekeeper.

Places like Qatar, Kosovo,
Kuwait, and Afghanistan.

MEL: Working with the military,
and going into war zones...

I worked my way into intel.

I was put to work
in a detention cell,

which is really the jail
for the war criminals.

MEL: I was called
a counterintelligence screener.

MEL: Interviewing
and giving polygraphs.

MEL: Evidence.

War crime evidence.

Looking for bad people.

Helping the country stabilize.

MEL: And everybody used to
call me superwoman.

MEL: Um...

I'm sorry, did I lose track...

of even the question?

MEL: The words just flow
through my head right now.


[shower water flowing]

[shower stops]

MYMY: My name is Mymy.

I'm 24, and I'm from California.

MYMY: Basic one.

MYMY: It's kinda
funny, actually.

As a little girl,
I was always very girly.

My mom just likes
to dress me up...

"You're a girl,
you should look pretty.

"People are gonna judge you
for how you look."

MYMY: I looked up to my mom.
I looked up to my mom.

I thought she was really pretty.

Well, that's 'cause I think
my dad's really ugly.


Beauty is ingrained
to our relationship.

And it was always creams,
always creams.

Always, like, different
moisturizers, sunscreens.

And I always grew up learning

you need to put these on your
face to prevent wrinkles,

anti-ageing, have lighter skin.

There's a huge thing
about having lighter skin.

Don't go in the sun;
you'll get too tanned.

Make sure you put sunscreen on,
so you can have nice skin

and people would like you more.

MYMY: When I was younger,
early '90s,

most of the people on TV
were white female celebrities.

That maybe has skewed
people's perception

of what beauty should be like.

And I was just never completely
satisfied with how I looked.

Why don't I have cheekbones?

Why do I feel like
my nose is too short?

Or why are my eyes so small,
and not shaped a certain way?

COMMERCIAL: ♪ Is it true
blondes have more fun? ♪

If I've only one life,
let me live it as a blonde!

MYMY: So I don't think
I actively thought,

"I wanna look like
this white woman,

"so I'm gonna dye
my hair blonde."

I love makeup.

I love personal care products.

I've never even called them
"personal care products."

You know, it's just like,
oh, lotions, or sunscreen.

It's kind of just
things that you grow up

being conditioned
to thinking that you need.

That it makes us
more attractive.

MEL: I was never really sick
for about 55 years of my life.

I'd had a bad fall.

I went to the doctor for...
I thought it was my ribs.

They said, "There's nothing
wrong with the ribs."

It was already stage four.

MEL: I was officially
diagnosed in May 2014,

ovarian cancer.

Told in March that I had
no more than six months.

[airplane roars past]

[inaudible announcement on PA]

DEANE: I had started having
problems with spotting,

between my periods.

I was 49 years old.

I knew I was probably
not too far from menopause,

but it still didn't
seem quite right.

TAXI DRIVER: How're you doing?

DEANE: I went and saw
the gynaecology surgeon.

He was sitting at his desk
with a pathology report.

[siren wails]

DEANE: Being a healthcare

I just took one look down,

and I could see
"bilateral carcinoma."

This can't be right.

And the doctor said,
"I didn't expect this,

"I'm really sorry."

Total hysterectomy
and chemotherapy.

I pulled out all my textbooks,
starting to look up

how do you treat ovarian cancer?

What did I do wrong?


[seagulls calling]

MARY: I had surgery
December, 2014.

Removed everything:
the omentum, the ovaries,

the fallopian tubes.

SHAEDA: My belly
started growing.

And it was the most
uncomfortable feeling.

It got to a stage
where I couldn't bend.

BEVERLEY: I went to
a hormone specialist,

and he said, "Uh-oh."

I said, "What does
that 'uh-oh' mean?"

He said, "Are you
feeling okay?"

I said, "I feel fine."

Because there's no warning
with ovarian cancer.

CHANTAL: When you do get
the symptoms, it's too late.

When they found it,
it had spread everywhere.

It's like it's the end
of the world, you know?

SHAEDA: The doctor put in
a needle right through

the skin under my abdomen.

Greenish liquid poured out of me

into six one-litre bottles.

CHANTAL: The only thing
came to my mind, is,

"I'm never gonna reach 50."

SHAEDA: And that's
how it started.

BEVERLEY: "You're gonna
have to have chemo,"

which my heart
fell to the ground.

MARY: My normal life...

stopped that day.

[traffic rumbles]

DEANE: In the handouts
the doctor had given me,

there was a book from
the Gilda Radner Association.

And in the back of the book,

there was different
causation factors.

And I was reading through
them, and I said, well,

I had children,
so that's not a factor.

There's no cancer in my family.

At that time, I wasn't
obese or overweight.

I had never used
birth control pills.

I kept reading, and I said,

"Talcum powder."

Talcum powder?

COMMERCIAL: Ever since
I was a little girl,

Johnson's Baby Powder has made
me feel soft, fresh, and loved.

Baby Powder keeps anybody's baby

smooth and fresh.

DEANE: I picked up the
talcum powder, baby powder,

Shower to Shower,
looked over the labels,

and there was nothing even
stated on the bottles at all

that there was
any risk of cancer.

DEANE: That's what
I'd been using

since I was about 16 years old.

And never thought that there
would be any danger in it.

MARY: [coughs]

I used Johnson Baby Powder.
And my mom.

The women in the house
were baby powder ladies.

BEVERLEY: My mother
used it on me as a child,

and as a baby.
It was a nice smell.

It made me feel fresh;
it made me feel good.

I felt clean.

SHAEDA: And I was using
Johnson & Johnson

Shower to Shower and baby powder
as a deodorant.

putting it in my bed

before I would go to bed,

because I liked
the smell of baby powder.


MARY: And I had no idea
that there was something

in the product
that could be harmful.

[birds chirping]

[car locking beep]

MYMY: I think having
makeup is just

like an extra layer of security.

If I was going on an interview,

I would want that extra layer,
just to know that

I don't have to worry
about my flaws showing.

[indistinct conversation]

MYMY: Even though maybe
other people wouldn't see it,

there are just things that
I would notice about myself,

and would make me
more self-conscious.

[indistinct conversation]

[indistinct conversation]

MYMY: I think overall, makeup
just boosts people's confidence.


MYMY: I really think
that makeup has been

ingrained so much
into our culture.

MYMY: If you're in
a group of friends,

and everybody put on
all their products,

and you're the only one
who didn't put on anything,

it's kind of awkward
to be the odd one out.

[picture shutter sounds]

MYMY: But face routine,
so you said primer.

You said moisturizer,
primer, and foundation.

EMILY: Yeah.
Oh, I use this one, too.

EMILY: I went to an
all-girls' high school,

so I think this topic
was actually pretty common

at my school.

So when I do see,
like, advertisements

for certain things, like, I just
see they use females, and...

MYMY: Like, sexualizing
females on commercials.

EMILY: Yeah, yeah.

EMILY: Cosmetic campaigns,
like, they will take some

very influential person that
a lot of girls look up to,

and they use that person to
advertise for whatever product.

"I think this
person's beautiful,

"and they're using this product;

"I'm gonna use
this product as well."

EMILY: We shouldn't be telling
girls to stop using products.

We should be telling
the government and regulators

and companies to stop
creating toxic beauty products.

MYMY: Yeah.

MYMY: I'm gonna be starting
medical school in the fall,

at Boston University.

I wanted to work with
Dr. Mahalingaiah

because she is a
reproductive endocrinologist.

[audience applause]

great to be here today...

MYMY: A lot of
Dr. Mahalingaiah's work

is on environmental exposures,
and reproductive disorders.

talk is going to go over

trends in human fertility.

We'll spend a little
time on definitions,

because that's really important
as you're thinking about

study design...

MYMY: I look to her
as a mentor.

In the past, she's looked
at environmental toxins

or exposures on
the prenatal period.

my concerns is

stemming from
the interconnectedness of

our environmental exposures.

Could we be exposing our
gametes, the egg and the sperm,

or our embryos
to potential toxicants

throughout the life course?

DR. MAHALINGAIAH: Remember when
I wanted to throw that out,

AVERA: Yeah.

do you wanna keep it?

What colour do
you like the most?

AVERA: I like a lot of them.
I like the natural ones.

I like the, like, natural
colours for your face, but...

show me the natural colours?

AVERA: They're just
like, they're like,

colours... the skin
colours, but...


weeded out a tremendous amount,

but this is what's
left of my makeup.

This is supposed
to make your skin

look bright,

and I also think that's probably

an oestrogen-type
effect on healthy,

growing skin,
that in addition to

other personal care products,
the volatile organic compounds

that are off-gassing
from nail polish.

[Avera's chatter]

populations have been exposed,

and discovery has been made
about the associations,

we've already lost
a generation to that exposure.

Which might be subtle effects
at the level of infertility.

MYMY: Gonna keep that here.

more devastating effects

in other aspects of development.

I think we should be concerned.

MYMY: I didn't start
using products until college.

That's when I started
having this...

benign tumour.

I have a small breast
already, so on me,

the tumour was really apparent.

MYMY: My physicians
would tell me,

"Oh, it's something
that just happens."

EMILY: Yeah.
MYMY: Oh, it just happened?

I'm unlucky.
EMILY: Yeah.

There should...

MYMY: But maybe it
wasn't because of luck,

it was something I used.
EMILY: Yeah, there's a reason.

MYMY: Yeah.
EMILY: It's illogical.

MYMY: So I finally got
the tumour removed,

but it was just...
It grew so large,

that now I have
a really big scar,

and the more I talk
about it, it seems like

other girls are saying,
"Oh my gosh, I have this too."

EMILY: Yeah, like,
"Oh, I feel a lump."

And I'm just like,
"We're in our 20s!"

Like, this shouldn't
be happening!

MYMY: Yeah.
EMILY: Like, you know?

MYMY: What is it?
And you're like,

"What is this caused by?"

terms of our fertility,

when a compound has an
endocrine-like activity,

or is an endocrine disruptor...

any substance that is synthetic,

that can act like an
endocrine hormone.

And so the endocrine system has
multiple different hormones.

The thyroid hormone that
comes from the thyroid,

oestrogen and testosterone are
well-known sex steroid hormones.

DR. ZOTA: That action, that
hormone interference can happen

on many different
biological levels.

And we are finding that many
of the synthetic chemicals

in personal care products
can indeed interfere

with hormone action.

DR. CARSON: In the words
of Jean Rostand,

"The obligation to endure
gives us the right to know."

DR. BRODY: We have a "innocent
until proven guilty" approach

to these chemicals,
where we put them into use,

and then we find out later
that they're risky.

Sometimes very risky.

We do know that some of the
chemicals in everyday products

are oestrogen mimics,
or they can distort androgen,

or affect thyroid.

Chemicals like phthalates.

That's affecting your
hormone signalling system.

DR. PLANTE: We're trying
to figure out if some

endocrine disruptors
can promote breast cancer,

or induce breast cancer,
or have an effect

on the mammary
gland development.

A lot of creams, like, that
you're gonna put on your skin

have parabens.

DR. PLANTE: In some of the
makeup you're gonna find

some parabens,
and/or some phthalates.

So there are a lot of product
that are using those molecules.

DR. BRODY: We think all
the hormone disruptors

are going to be relevant
to all the hormonal cancers.

So that includes prostate,
testicular, ovarian,


and to reproduction and growth.

So this is not just
a women's problem.

DR. MAHALINGAIAH: The industrial
processes that make

some of the additives
in something as benign as makeup

are the same kinds of processes
that are in involved

in chemical warfare,
and biological weapons.

like this a very light topic

that is just like, oh, makeup,
and let's look beautiful.

MYMY: I'm learning that all
of these toxins can cause

reproductive harm,
and effects on menopause,

and an earlier age in menopause.

And I'm 24 years old,
and I know that

I want to have
children later on,

but going into
a career in medicine,

that's going to be delayed, and
I hope that using these products

won't affect my
decision to have kids.

DR. CRAMER: No, there's
no warning label on talc

regarding risks
of ovarian cancer.

I had surely expected a warning
label would be placed

on talc products after
the International Agency

for Research on Cancer
declared talc

to be a possible carcinogen.

But even then,
no warning labels appeared,

and that's what's
prompted me to get involved

in this litigation issue.

DR. CRAMER: In medical school
I was very much interested

in obstetrics and gynaecology
as a speciality.

But I always had
the intent to go on

to get a degree in epidemiology.

And when it came time to
choose a thesis, that is,

epidemiologic study of
some disease or another,

I chose ovarian cancer.

DR. NESS: Dan is the guy
who I consider to be

kind of the grandfather,

one of the grandfathers
of epidemiology,

which is my field.

And epidemiology, you know,
I call us detective people.

He was one of the people
who published way back

in the early 1980s
one of the first papers

to link talc and ovarian cancer.

DEANE: Without him, I really
wonder if this ever would have

been brought out at all.

But he'd been fighting it,

and showing evidence
of it for a long time.

DR. CRAMER: There had been
some suspicion about talc

and ovarian cancer,
but it had not been studied

in any sort of systematic way.

Well, first I should explain
that we decided that we would do

a case control study.

We would interview women
who'd recently been diagnosed

with ovarian cancer...

we would ask them,

"A year before your
cancer was diagnosed,

"what habits did you have?"

And we asked about the talc use.

And there was clearly
an excess of women who used

powders after
bathing or showering

in their genital area
that translate

into an increased risk
for ovarian cancer.

Talc is a mined product.

Magnesium silicates.

[talc rumbling]

DR. CRAMER: And it occurs more
frequently than not in veins

with other magnesium silicates,
which can include asbestos.

DR. CRAMER: The majority of
women were actually using

Johnson & Johnson, but...

there's nothing unique
about Johnson & Johnson

in terms of the talc.

Talc is talc.

[keys clicking]

here it is...

"Johnson & Johnson liability"...

And then here's
all the plaintiffs.

And who they're represented by.

[birds chirping]

MEL: The last two years
of a different chemo drug,

feeling the tumour stick out
through your skin, I mean,

you could... if you put
a few fingers here,

you could see underneath.
It's like an iceberg effect.

Most of it is underneath, and
now the tips are sticking out.

It's days at a time where you
can't even just drink water

without vomiting.

MEL: When I was overseas
on military bases,

I used the regular
Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder,

and Shower to Shower.

WOMAN: Hmm...
MAN: Yeesh.

WOMAN 2: Ha, ha,
where's everybody going?

GROUP: ♪ Shower to Shower
each day! ♪

♪ Helps keep odour away! ♪

MEL: I used it
on the genital area,

and underarms, and in shoes.

I loved the scent for one thing.

It made you feel
a little more confident.

It's just a frustration

that is on a level that,
I don't know,

it just paralyses you,

that level of frustration to
know you did this to yourself,

but I know it's not...

Logically I know
it's not my fault.

What it boils down to,
it's destroying lives,

when it comes down to it.

That's exactly what's happening.
Lives are being destroyed.

MAN IN FILM: Yes, sir,
that's my baby.

No, sir, don't mean maybe.

She's probably never
heard of Lenin.

Her unsuspecting countrymen
have given her the vote.

Yes, sir, that's my baby now.

MYMY: So this is called, "The
American Chamber of Horrors."

And it talks about the dangers
of the cosmetic industry

back in 1936.

And it's crazy,
because nothing has changed,

or very little has
changed since then.

In the laboratory,

a scientist tests
an eyelash beautifier,

which only recently
came on the market.

He finds that this cosmetic

contains a coal tar dye.

This explains why women
who use this stuff

are having the outer coatings
of their eyeballs burned off,

and are becoming blind.

DR. ZOTA: The way we regulate
personal care products

in this country hasn't changed

since the 1930s.

MAN: President Roosevelt
has endorsed a bill

which should be front-page news
to every consumer in America.

Its purpose is to protect you,
as a consumer,

from the many dangers
and fraudulent foods,

drugs, and cosmetics still
to be found on the market.

DR. SMITH: I don't think it's
possible to imagine a worse

regulated family
of products than cosmetics,

which is surprising,
given how intimately

we use these products.

works very hard on drugs,

on medical devices, perhaps
a little less well on food,

protecting people from
dangerous materials in cosmetics

is not even in the back seat;
it's not even in the car.

[indistinct conversation]

[distant siren noises]

REP. RON: Your
experts said,

when a consumer asks,
"Is this product safe?"

Your experts said,
"I cannot say."

DR. KESSLER: I don't believe in
saying everything is just fine,

everything is always safe.
Everything is relative.

MAN IN FILM: In some cases, if
the advertising isn't accurate

for things like
cosmetics, deodorants,

and hair tonics and so forth,
people might use the product

in ways that could
injure their health.

MAN 2: Inaccurate?
Aren't they actually lying?

COMMERCIAL: When you find a girl
whose hair feels like hair,

she probably uses
Ozon Fluid Net.

The hairspray that leaves
hair feeling like hair.

It's the hairdresser's

in the pink and grey can.

REP. RON: This industry,
which any time you walk

into a store in this country,

is virtually asserting

that they can rebuild people

with new cells,

and all kinds of
other very bold claims.

JANET: The $84-billion
domestic cosmetics industry

is regulated currently
by about a page

and a half of federal law.

Really impressive, important,

influential members
of Congress have tried.

Ron Wyden, from Oregon,
Ted Kennedy tried,

and every time they've
introduced legislation

that would require stricter
regulation of the industry,

the industry has fought
it back, and has said,

"We will do a better job
of regulating ourselves."

SEN. KERRY: Would it concern
you to know that young women

are using oestrogen in
hair products conceivably

to straighten their hair,
and that that may in fact

have an impact?

DR. ALDERSON: Without question,
we would want to know that, sir.

it's in public domain.

It seems to me the FDA is
putting its faith in an industry

to self police
through a panel called

the Cosmetic Ingredient Review.

Surprise, surprise, the industry
funded the panel of scientists,

and they've reviewed
only 11% of the more than

10,000 ingredients
contained in cosmetics.

DR. LANPHEAR: I'd like to be
able to put myself out of a job.

That means that we're
protecting kids.

And we're not having
to use them to determine

whether this chemical
or that chemical is toxic.

Which is not of course what
industry wants us to do.

They'd just rather continue
to use a product

without any
regulation whatsoever.

DR. MICHAELS: What we're seeing
now is there's a whole industry,

the product defence industry,

which is made up of
for-profit corporations

that are run by scientists,
who are consultants,

and some of these
supposed think-tanks.

I mean, it's ludicrous.

The Indoor Tanning Association
is out there saying...

Questioning the science around

ultraviolet radiation
and skin cancer.

DR. MICHAELS: Something
I've seen is that this

manufacturer of uncertainty

and trying to show there
are two sides to every issue

around science
degrades all scientists.

It makes it looks like
scientists are just part of

a debating society,
and they're like lawyers.

But science isn't like that.

Science is the search
for the truth.

But hiring people to
say something specific

not because it's the truth,
but because it defends

a product,
or it defends a corporation,

really does make it
hard for all scientists.

DR. LANPHEAR: But the more
unethical part of what we do

is use these chemicals before
they've been tested for safety.

Did anybody ever ask you
to sign a consent form

for using these products,
because they didn't know

if it was safe?
Of course not.

JULIE: Labels
do not disclose

what's in "parfum," "aroma,"
"fragrance," or "flavour."

Those catch-all terms
can conceal a range

of potentially
hazardous chemicals.

JULIE: The world operates
with what's called

a post-market regulatory system.

That means that the product
is put onto the market first.

It's not like you have to
test the product first,

make sure it's safe,
and then it goes on the market.

No, it goes on the market,
and then if there are incidents,

that's when the regulatory
system kicks in.

Nobody's testing to see
if that eyeshadow

has in it what it says
it has in it.

RON: Let me ask you first,
and I'd like to just go down

the row, whether
each of you believe

that nicotine is not addictive?

JAMES: Congressman,
cigarettes and nicotine

clearly do not meet the classic
definitions of addiction.

[cartoon gunshot]

DR. SMITH: I think the best
available science points

to that this cosmetics issue
as being even bigger

than the tobacco industry,

because we're talking about

thousands of
different chemicals,

most of which haven't
been adequately safety tested.

DR. SMITH: There are
really two pressing

pollution crises at the moment.

One gets a lot of media,
and that's climate change.

And deservedly so.

[seagulls calling]

SMITH: I often wonder why
this second pollution crisis,

this crisis of toxic chemicals

in the products
that we use every day,

why doesn't this
second pollution crisis

get more attention?

MYMY: I met with
Dr. Rick Smith.

He is an environmentalist,

and he's also done an experiment

and wrote a book about it,

called "Slow Death
by Rubber Duck."

MYMY: I'm starting
medical school in the fall

at Boston University in the lab.

DR. SMITH: That's great.
MYMY: [laughs] Thank you.

The lab that I was
working in the past year,

a lot of our work is
owed to your book,

and self-experimentation
with toxins,

and seeing the effects
on your own body.

DR. SMITH: So, are you gonna be
doing an experiment on yourself?

MYMY: I'm doing an
experiment on myself.

DR. SMITH: Okay.
Alright, very good.

I mean, that's terrible,
but that's... you know,

I mean, that'll be interesting.

MYMY: Yeah, so I'm...
DR. SMITH: Yeah.

MYMY: gonna get
back to baseline,

where I'll use no products,
take off all my makeup.

DR. SMITH: Yeah.

MYMY: Stop using soap.

And then put on all
the mainstream products.

DR. SMITH: Yeah.

MYMY: And take
the urine test afterwards

to see my levels
of phthalates and parabens.

DR. SMITH: So all of our
experiments mimic daily life.

And we've done a lot of
experiments with cosmetics.

We've looked at whether
you can increase

the level of phthalates
in your body,

the level of parabens
in your body

just by using certain products.
MYMY: Right.

DR. SMITH: Our bodies are pretty
good at getting rid of them

on a regular basis.
MYMY: Yeah.

DR. SMITH: We all
have relatively high,

relatively constant levels
of these chemicals

in our bodies all the time.
MYMY: Yeah, yeah.

DR. SMITH: Which means that

we're being
constantly re-exposed.

MYMY: Yeah.
DR. SMITH: So we're kinda...

marinating ourselves
unwittingly in these chemicals.

DR. ZOTA: We wrote a commentary
to talk about a phenomenon

that we call the environmental
injustice of beauty.

ZOTA: It's really trying
to frame this problem

of disproportionate
chemical exposures

among women of colour.

We further go on
to talk about how each

of these categories
of product use,

whether it's skin care, hair,

feminine care products,
vaginal douches,

and feminine sprays,
and feminine wipes,

use of baby powder
in the genital area...

We also see differences
in skin care products.

DR. ZOTA: Skin lighteners
are being used

by women across the globe.

DR. ZOTA: There are cases
in the medical literature

of mercury poisoning
from skin care products.

DR. ZOTA: This preference
for Eurocentric beauty norms

can have really long-lasting
effects on body image.

DR. DARBRE: I'm going to
start off this evening

by talking about
personal care products,

and about breast cancer.

Breast cancer is
not a new disease.

It was there in ancient Egypt.

It was recorded
in ancient Greece.

But the rate of increase
in breast cancer

is absolutely unprecedented.

DR. DARBRE: So this is where
we actually grow the cells.

The human breast cancer cells.

And we're gonna have a look
under the microscope

at whether they're growing,

and whether they're
growing more with parabens

than without parabens.

I've tested all
of them individually,

and in combination, and they can
make human breast cancer cells

grow, and may be able
to mimic oestrogen action

in breast cells.

DR. DARBRE: In 2004,
we upset the world by showing

that parabens could even
get into the human breast.

We then did a bigger
study in 2012,

in which we found paraben
in 158 out of 160 samples.

And furthermore,
we didn't find one paraben,

we found five parabens
in 60% of those samples.

Parabens are added
to many products

to preserve them.

Body care products

and skin care products

that you can buy on
the supermarket shelf.

I'm actually quite upset

by how much I've measured
in human breast tissue.

DR. ZOTA: One common adage is
that the dose makes the poison.

That is not so straightforward
with endocrine disruptors,

because sometimes you can
have different effects

at lower levels.
Sometimes more severe effects

than you can at higher levels.

In utero exposures
are most often linked

with some of the most severe
effects that we've seen to date,

as well as effects
early in childhood.

[children laughing]

DR. JAMES-TODD: Children's
bodies work differently.

They're smaller; they metabolize
things differently than we do.

And their bodies
are developing still.

So when they're exposed to these
endocrine disrupting chemicals

in our personal care products,
that has implications

for that child's future health.

What we know
is that the children

who start their periods younger
are at an increased of obesity,

cardiovascular disease,

And so we really
believe that childhood

could be a sensitive
window of time

by which these exposures might
be particularly deleterious.

MALE NARRATOR: Little girls
like to look pretty.

But some of Mother's
good-smelling cosmetics

might be poisonous.

Even simple things like perfume,
or nail polish

can make you ill.

DR. LANPHEAR: Toxins can have
a lifelong impact on children.

We've also discovered that
extremely low levels of toxins

can impact brain development.

DR. LANPHEAR: Joel Bocken, who's
a lawyer at UBC, and a friend,

he's written a couple books; one
was called "The Corporation."

And he was interviewing me
about how different

environmental chemicals
impact children.

Going through this litany.

And after about five
or ten minutes, he says,

"Wait a minute, stop, stop.

"You do this for
a living, right?"

I said yes.

"You have kids?"

"Can you protect
your own children?"

No way.

There's too many.

DR. BOUCHARD: I've been
studying the impact

of personal care products
and also pesticides

on children's brain development.

A lot of chemicals out there
are neurotoxicants.

For instance,

lead exposure is
associated with ADHD,

so Attention Deficit
Hyperactive Disorder,

which is now quite
prevalent in the population.

It's not only chemicals,
like man-made chemicals;

there's also natural elements,
natural substances...

Like essential oils,
for instance, are a big one.

[bee buzzing]

example is lavender oil.

It's being used in
a lot of products,

and it's actually a pretty
powerful endocrine disruptor.

There's been case studies
published of boys

growing breasts because
of use of creams or lotions,

or oil that were
applied to their bodies.

DR. DARBRE: Baby boys are very,
very susceptible to exposure

to oestrogenic compounds.

In exposure either prior
to birth, or just after birth,

can have profound effects

on hormonal control
of reproduction in men.

MYMY: These companies are
telling you, "Yeah, it's gentle,

"it's safe," and then you
learn ten years down the line,

"Oh my god, I'm infertile.
Why am I infertile?"

Or "Oh my god,
I have cancer."

Where did this come from?

My family doesn't have cancer,
no history of cancer.

There are questions
that should be raised.

And we need to find answers.

ALAN: My name's Alan Smith,

and I'm a trial attorney
here in Mississippi.

I saw a blog post from a lady
named Deane Berg that said,

"I have suffered ovarian cancer.

"I have no risk factors

"other than I am a lifelong
genital talc user

"that I learned
from my mother."

And I responded immediately,
"I've been looking at this issue

"for four or five years,
and I will be more than happy

"to speak with you."
So that's how we started.


DEANE: We're looking
for John Sloan.

RECEPTIONIST: Sure, one sec.

DEANE: I'm looking forward to
speaking to the Canadian women,

because I want them too to have
hope that they can fight this,

that they can live with it,
and that we're in this together.

JOHN: Hi, I'm John.
DEANE: Deane Berg.

JOHN: Nice to meet you, Deane.
Thanks for coming.

We're the ones that
actually speak with the...

ALAN: I always called
her my Erin Brockovich,

because she was
the ultimate whistleblower.

DEANE: Why didn't this ever
come out to the public?

Why was there no notice
put on baby powder?

And why isn't this
talked about, then?

If this is one of the most
deadly cancers for women,

why isn't this brought
out in the public?

WOMAN: Hi, ladies.

WOMAN: Yeah, well,
I can't hear anything.

WOMAN: Hi, thank you.

DEANE: I went on the National
Ovarian Cancer Alliance site,

and I just put on a blog:

"Has anyone else
developed ovarian cancer

"from talcum powder?"

And then Alan Smith,

the lawyer that I ended up
getting, contacted me.

And he said, "I think
you'd be the good case,

"because they can't find
anything against you."

We started the lawsuit,

and then Johnson & Johnson
of course tried to fight it.

They tried to get it
thrown out for this reason,

that reason, everything.

But the judge was
a woman, thankfully,

and she stood
behind us and said,

"No, it's gotta go to court."

DR. CRAMER: I first
published my study in 1982,

and I did not contact
Johnson & Johnson;

they contacted me.

Dr. Bruce Semple,
who was the medical director

of Johnson & Johnson at the time

wanted to meet with me;
came to Boston.

I think he spent his time trying
to convince me that talc

was a harmless habit,
and I said,

"Well, maybe you
just should consider

"you may need to put
a warning label on it,

"or you'll want to put
a warning label on it."

I was contacted by
a little magazine called

Cancer Prevention
for Primary Care Doctors.

I wrote the little article
about why you should warn

your patients about talc.

DR. CRAMER: Well, that caught
Dr. Semple's attention again,

and he wrote a letter.

They encouraged me to limit

the amount of public
discussion of the topic.

DR. CRAMER: I didn't have any
further contact with them.

I think they kept track
of what I was studying,

and my papers on the topic.

ALAN: We're talking about
a product named "baby powder."

It's not just talc.

It's 99% talc,
which is carcinogenic.

It has asbestos in it,
which is carcinogenic.

It has heavy metals in it,
which are known carcinogens,

and it has silica in it,
which is a known carcinogen,

so I liken baby powder

as a delivery device
of multiple carcinogens,

exactly like a cigarette.

SPEAKER: The senator
from Massachusetts.

SEN. KENNEDY: A technique
that has been used

to extract ovarian tumour
material found talc particles

in approximately 75%

of ovarian tumours examined.

Subsequent evaluations
have appeared to support

the contention of an
association between talc

and ovarian carcinoma.

ALAN: J&J, I consider
as the ultimate villain

in this situation,
and I want to say clearly why.

After we filed Deane Berg's
suit in South Dakota

in federal court,

I sent a request for
production of documents.

My office was stacked with
six, seven feet high

of papers all around my office,

and I went through every
single piece of paper.

ALAN: It was absolutely
shocking internal material.

ALAN: I'm talking about decades,
going back to the 50s...


That they were seeking
a replacement for talc

in the 60s.

And in the same document,
they're admitting that talc

cannot be safely
absorbed in the vagina.

And so they were looking
for that replacement

because of that very reason.

They told no one.

And then I've seen them go and
use their corporate influence

to prevent governmental

ALAN: Not ever
in tobacco litigation,

in benzene litigation,
not in asbestos litigation,

has there been an email
or a letter memorializing

a conspiracy to this scale.

They're going out
and having side meetings

with certain
officials at the FDA,

to prevent the FDA from
regulating their product.

ALAN: If that is not
the definition of a villain,

I don't know what is.

TARA: With so much
information available about

everything we come
in contact with,

some true, and some not,

it can be hard to know what to
pay attention to these days.

All of us at Johnson & Johnson

deeply sympathize
with the women and families

impacted by
this devastating disease.

At the same time,
we are guided by the science

which supports the safety
of Johnson's Baby Powder.

DR. NESS: Talc causes
ovarian cancer.

Johnson & Johnson has known
about this for decades.

And they refuse to do
anything about that.

DEANE: So they put me
through the deposition,

and then we met
out in Rapid City,

the western part of
South Dakota, and they said,

"Well, we'll offer you 800,000."
And I said,

"Well, what about
the warning label?"

I thought this was
all part of it.

There was gonna be
a warning label,

or the product would be
taken off the market.

No, none of that.

And then I'd have
to be silent, right?

I went out for a walk with my
husband at the time, and I said,

you know, "We didn't
do this for money."

I said, "What about all the
other women that are out there?

"And if I just take money,

"what good is this gonna do?"
It isn't.

So we went back in
and they said,

"Okay, 1.3 million."
And I said no.

I stood up, I said, "I'll see
you in court in September,"

and walked out of the room.

DR. DODSON: So, Silent Spring
was founded over 20 years ago,

by breast cancer activists.

DR. DODSON: We were
founded as an institute

to try to study the links
between the environment

and women's health.

DR. DODSON: I test
people themselves,

and really trying to
characterize our exposures,

try to develop
effective strategies

to try to reduce
those exposures.

ALEX: Hi, there.

Hi Mymy, I'm Alex.

I have a project here.

ALEX: That's great.

DR. DODSON: Hi, Mymy,
nice to meet you.

Nice to meet you too.

DR. DODSON: So, thanks for
coming to Silent Spring,

and I'm excited to tell
you about our study.

MYMY: Yes.

DR. DODSON: Have a seat.

MYMY: Okay.

Basically I wanted to look
at the chemical body burden

difference between
using my normal

every-day products
versus clean products.

So I actually just
recently looked at...

Started looking at
the ingredients in my shampoos,

and deodorants...
Deodorant's a big one.

I keep mentioning it, but
because I just use it so often,

and there's aluminium, and talc,

which I have read
in studies that are...

That can cause breast cancer,
ovarian cancer.

So if that's in my deodorant,
then what else am I using,

and unknowingly causing harm?

What do you think is so key

to knowing our
chemical body burden?

DR. DODSON: The key here
is that it...

We're concerned about exposures

during certain time
periods in people's lives.

Right, so when
a woman is pregnant,

we're worried about the exposure
that might happen in the foetus,

right, we're concerned
about early life exposures

to children, because that can
affect their development.

But also women, whom then
might be of childbearing age.


You can take a urine sample,

and then put it
back into the kit,

and freeze it, and then
once you've frozen it,

you can then send it back
to us in this shipper,

and we pull them all together,

and then we send
them off to the lab

for the chemical analysis.

MYMY: Yeah, no, it looks
pretty self-explanatory, too.

MYMY: Thank you so much.

DR. DODSON: You're welcome.
See you later.

MYMY: Bye.

MYMY: So it's day one
of my experiment.

I'm supposed to be
doing a detox day,

so no products at all,

I just took a shower
with no shampoo,

no conditioner, no soap.

It was the weirdest thing ever.

And I'm not using
any toothpaste,

and my breath's gonna smell.

I can't use deodorant
either, and it's...

80 degrees outside,

so I gotta remember
to stay at least like

20 feet away from everyone.

MYMY: So I felt really
dirty all the time.

No, I can't use soap,
I can't wash my hands.

And people would
try to talk to me,

and I would just
look really awkward,

because I'd back
away from people.

MYMY: But detox for 24 hours,

no use of any products.

And then after the detox period,

use your normal products.

MYMY: I never thought about
the volume of the products

that I was using.

Eyebrows, lipstick, shampoo,
conditioner, shaving.

I lost count when
I was using them,

but I think upwards
of 27 products.

MYMY: I'm actually gonna
look at every single label

on every product that I've used.

Just make a full spreadsheet
of which products have what,

and then create categories
on which ingredients

show up most often.

If I do show a really
high level of chemicals,

I don't know,
parabens, phthalates,

I really want to look
into what disruptions

does this cause in my endocrine
or reproductive system?

If I can find enough data,
if I can pool enough data

to show that these chemicals
are very harmful,

then I would take
it even further.

And really, tell the public,

"Hey, this is what
we're doing to our bodies,

"and we need to stop."

STACY: The stories we're
hearing about today,

about chemical pollution,
about toxic plastic waste,

about rising rates of cancer,

aren't just problems
that are happening out here

that somebody
needs to deal with.

But they're as close to us
as the choices we're making

every single day,
about the lotions

that we put on our faces,

and the bubbles that we put in
the bathtub with our children.

STACY: So we started
the Cosmetics Campaign

out of a concern about

a particular chemical
called phthalates,

which is linked through
a long body of research

to reproductive birth defects,
and particularly,

impacts on the male
reproductive system.

We found out in the early 2000s,

through the Centers
for Disease Control,

they started to analyze urine
of thousands of Americans.

Everyone is being
exposed to phthalates,

but they found
much higher levels

in women of
child-bearing age, 20-40.

The researchers that I
worked with had a theory,

it could be cosmetics.

So we sent 72 products to
a lab... this was in 2002...

And found phthalates
in most of them.

Two thirds of the products.

Then we reported that
at a press conference,

we actually had a full-page
ad in The New York Times.

The headline was, "Sexy for her.

"For baby,
it really could be poison."

This was a bomb
in the cosmetics industry.

Nobody had been asking here,
in the United States,

about toxic chemicals
in cosmetics.

SCOTT: Last week I got
to spend a day on Capitol Hill

with a very brave
little girl named Eliana.

Eliana lost all of her hair,
even her eyelashes.

You can add pretty much
anything to personal care,

in any amount.

And sometimes, as we saw
with a popular shampoo,

sold by a celebrity hairstylist,

tens of thousands
of women and girls

lost some or all of their hair,
some permanently.

MONICA: And I was just
very, very, very shocked

and disappointed
that this company

that makes so much money
off of this product

cannot be responsible
for what they've done.

And it's... sorry.

My family has just
seen the worst.

My hair falling out,
and my husband...

I had to make a difficult
decision for him

to go ahead and
shave my hair off.


PAUL: I would say it was
a pretty horrific experience.

There's a product called
"Just For Men."

It's their product
that's used for beards.

COMMERCIAL: "Just For Men"
hair and beard care.

Be the better man you are.

PAUL: By the time I got to bed
that night around 10, 10:30,

the mild itchiness
had progressed

to an unbelievable itchiness.

I made the decision immediately,
we've gotta go over to Emerg.

SCOTT: There are
certainly acute risks,

short-term risks from
using personal care,

whether it's
hair loss, or burns,

or contaminated products,

or products with too
much lead, or mercury.

SCOTT: But there are also
chronic or long-term risks

that have been linked
to cancer, or fertility.

[women singing]

[protesters shouting]

SCOTT: It's hard to imagine
that there are rules that limit

what chemicals we can
spray on food, or on crops,

but not the chemicals we
spray on ourselves every day.

ALEC: So a large part of
my job as a formulator

was to constantly
do reformulations.

Once a certain dye
was thought to be...

Even potentially
to have toxicities,

they wouldn't wait for it
to become a regulatory matter,

they would be proactive
in reformulation.

But I see bath products,
and shampoos, and 3-in-1s,

and a lot of bath type
of products for kids.

Which I have two nephews and
a niece that I love very much.

When I see their mother soaking
them in this product every night

for hours on end,
it does concern me,

because they're not just
taking a quick shower

and washing it off.
They're soaking in it,

and playing in it.

All women who wear any kind of
deodorant, or some moisturizer,

is gonna have parabens in their
system for the last 50 years.

But then the marketing
department got a hold of this,

and thought, "We're gonna
be the first product

"that has no parabens,"
so then they substitute it

with another preservative:

And now it's proven to be toxic.

ROSE MARIE: I never set out
to be a makeup artist.

I was travelling all over
the world, I've lived in Paris,

London, Berlin,
Hamburg, New York,

Miami, all doing makeup.

I did a lot of
Victoria's Secret,

and my big thing about that
was these foundations,

the chemicals I'm using
on the girls' skin.

These girls are like, 18, 19
years old, they're flawless.


ROSE MARIE: And in my 30s,

I started feeling
really, really sick.

I had problems with a lot of the
makeup because it was burning

my skin when I'd do full
body makeup on the girls,

and I'd take it off
with a makeup wipe,

my arms literally would
break out into a rash.

And I so I went and had
really advanced bloodwork,

urine analysis,
and hair analysis.

And when I picked that up
from the lab, they said to me,

"Do you work
in the cosmetic industry?"

And I was like... I was
completely in shock, and I said,

"How do you know that?"
And they said,

"'Cause we see a lot of
these chemicals in cosmetics,

"and also people
that do hair."

So I started studying all this.

I got so involved in that,
people were saying,

"Oh my god, if you put this out,
you'll never work again

"in the industry."
But surprisingly enough,

it catapulted me
to a higher level,

because I was a makeup artist
who had something to say.

ALAN: It all started
17, 18 years ago,

back when my wife and I,

Karen, started
planning a family.

You always think about your
kids, your future kids.

And at that time,
Karen's a biochemist,

was actually working
in pesticides.

Myself, a microbiologist, I was
working in pharmaceuticals.

You know, sometimes,
it's a little bit of pesticides

that you're ingesting;
it's a little bit

of the chemical floor cleaner
that you're smelling.

It's a little bit of the cream
that you're putting on,

or that... you know,
an anti-perspirant

with chemical whatever,
you know?

I just thought,
"You know what, I got it."

So I quit, and I decided
to do this full time.

ALAN: Bonjour, bonjour.
[speaking French]

ALAN: I'm starting to feel
like it's turning around,

that it won't be long, actually
there'll be more people

using natural products than
there are using chemicals.

ALAN: What I found out
was that these companies

that now were promoting,
and were being very proud

to tell you that
they care about you,

and that they weren't
using parabens anymore,

actually went back
to a preservative

that was actually very
popular back in like,

the 1950s, called formaldehyde.

So they're using formaldehyde,

but they weren't naming it
formaldehyde on the product.

Formaldehyde is a
fantastic preservative,

I mean, it kills
everything, right?

So companies develop
these slow-release

formulations of formaldehyde.

And as such, they were
able to give it a new name.

So they can change a name,
so they can dupe you

so that you won't know that it's
formaldehyde in the products.

And that kind of stuff does
happen; this is real life.

And it's still happening
today, unfortunately.

SALESWOMAN: What kind of
stuff do you currently use?

MYMY: Okay, so,
I do the whole thing.

MYMY: I do...

I do the moisturizers;
I've got Neutrogena.


MYMY: Um, a primer,
face full coverage foundation.


MYMY: Any concealers;
like, a setting spray.


MYMY: I use anything
on my eyes, face, lips.

SALESWOMAN: The works.
MYMY: Yeah.

MYMY: I found different
clean products

for every single
item that I had.

And then I put on
my clean products.

MYMY: And then then do
another urine sample

with the clean products.

MYMY: [phone beeps]
Hey, it's Mymy.

I wanted to give you the other

chemical body burden test kit.

I can find a way to drop
it off with you later.

Okay, bye, talk to you soon.
[phone beeps]

REPORTER: Today we begin
with a possible health risk

involving one of the most
trusted products, baby powder.

REPORTER 2: Deane Berg
is one of the more than

20,000 women in the US
who are diagnosed

with ovarian cancer each year.

tells me the story

that the lawyer
for the defence said,

"You've got about
a one in a million chance

"of winning this."

DEANE: One person versus

a humongous
pharmaceutical company.

REPORTER: They became the first
to file a talc lawsuit

against Johnson & Johnson,
and its talc supplier.

ALAN: It was truly
David versus Goliath.

They had 20 or 30 lawyers
on their side, and it was me.

DARREN: The science,
as the FDA sees it,

simply does not merit such
a warning at this time.

DR. NESS: And they just
keep coming back at us with,

oh my gosh, more and more
crack legal teams.

They are really swift.

also did say, though,

the growing body of evidence
to support a possible

association between
genital talc exposure

and serious ovarian cancer
is difficult to dismiss.

DARREN: God bless 'em.

DEANE: So it went to
court in September.

And that was probably one of
the hardest weeks I ever had.

BART: The truth,
as we will show you

over the next three weeks or so,

is that Johnson's Baby Powder,

which has been sold to millions
of people around the world

for over 100 years,
are absolutely safe,

do not cause ovarian cancer.

There have been no studies
saying that it does.

DEANE: They put up
big poster boards

of women's internal organs.

And they talked about
sperm going up the vagina,

and then it was how talcum
powder couldn't do this,

because, you know, how could it
ever get up inside of a woman?

DR. CRAMER: I don't think women
need a lesson about the anatomy,

but just as sperm can track up,
and just as the egg, fertilized,

can track down, it's pretty
easy for a particle like talc

to track through
the genital area.

DEANE: And they had slides
of my ovarian tissue,

with purple spots where there
was talcum all through it.

Johnson & Johnson had doctors
that testified against me.

One doctor even laughed,
"She's lucky to be alive."

BART: You are in fact
going to learn in this case

that the hard science
studies actually show

that talc kills cancerous cells,

and leaves normal cells alone.

DEANE: Finally
the jury came back in,

and the Johnson & Johnson
lawyers are sitting there

smiling ear to ear with
their notebooks all open,

and they said, guilty.

The whole courtroom went silent.

And then they said, and reward
to the plaintiff, zero.

DEANE: I've never heard of
a case where a person has been

found guilty in a civil lawsuit,

and then the plaintiff
gets awarded nothing.

There were some men on the jury
that I think didn't believe

a lot of it, and then the women
that were there on the jury

made a deal with them
to give a guilty plea,

but then no reward.

ALAN: Forget the money, because
it was never about the money

to Ms. Berg.

Otherwise, she would've
settled her case.

What was very important,
and what was the...

Of ultimate importance
to her was the public

seeing the verdict that
12 jurors unanimously said,

in her home state
of South Dakota,

that Johnson & Johnson
should have placed a warning

on their product
about ovarian cancer,

and that her genital use
of that product

contributed to cause
her ovarian cancer.

DR. NESS: I believe
that part of the reason

that Johnson & Johnson now
is fighting this so hard,

is there are thousands of
women around the country

who have joined
in class action suits,

both here and in Canada.

I still remember my first case.

Her last name was Fox.

DR. NESS: She actually died
fairly shortly before the trial.

JACKIE: That's a big girl,

are you a big girl?
GIRL: Yeah.

JACKIE: You wanna
teach me how?

GIRL: Yeah.
JACKIE: Alright!

You're gonna make it.

MAN: You counting?
JACKIE: [laughs]

a landmark decision,

a St. Louis jury ruled
that Johnson & Johnson

must pay $72 million,

including 62 million
in punitive damages

to the family of
an Alabama woman

who died from ovarian cancer.

MARVIN: Her whole fight

was for... not just for her.

But so many other women.

JOEL: Verdicts started to
come out of the United States.

There was a $72-million verdict
against Johnson & Johnson

in relation to a woman who
had developed ovarian cancer.

We'd been approached
by victims, women,

who used Johnson & Johnson
Baby Powder

over a long period of time.

And these women had
developed ovarian cancer.

JOEL: I know it takes a lot
of courage to come forward,

and kind of talk about
what's happened to you.

And so we really appreciate you
being here, and sharing this.

CAROL ANN: As you said, Deane,
it's embarrassing

to tell your story sometimes.

And one, for judgement
of others, and two,

because you think, oh no, I did
something wrong to myself.

I don't want any more people

to have to go through what
we've just talked about.

I don't want anybody
to have the option

to buy that on the shelf today.

JOEL: Hello, Shaeda.

JOEL: Hi, welcome.
Good to see you.

SHAEDA: Thank you.
JOEL: Please grab a seat.

JOEL: But here we have
this situation where

had J&J simply
warned of this risk,

none of these people potentially
would've had ovarian cancer.

DEANE: Stand strong.

You know, just look 'em face
to face, and don't shed a tear.

And they will try to
make you look weak,

that you're just complaining,

that this really wasn't
as bad as it appeared to be,

and if we stand together
as women, we can do this.

[inaudible conversation]

CAROL ANN: Nice meeting you.
DEANE: Nice meeting you, too.

Thank you for your story.

CAROL ANN: Oh, thank you
for all of your support,

and being the pioneer.

DEANE: Oh, you're welcome.
WOMAN: So nice to meet you.

Thank you so much for coming.

DEANE: I feel good as a women,
as a whistleblower.

I opened this up to the public

to try to help prevent
other women from getting

ovarian cancer and
suffering the way I did,

and other women have.

I know I didn't get
any money for it,

but as I said to my husband,
I have my life.

I'm still alive 11 years later,
after having ovarian cancer,

and no money can be
awarded for that.

DR. CRAMER: This is
not a healthful habit.

It is a harmful one,

and you should not
use these products.

It will get into
the pelvic cavity,

it may cause problems,

and in some cases it will
cause ovarian cancer.

JOEL: Historically, men run
these large corporations.

And here we are promoting
you know, as men,

this product to women, to use,

and for families to use.

ALEX: Now, as chairman
and CEO of this company,

I take this personally,
and very seriously.

And I know that
many of you do too.

Now, I want to repeat,
reiterate, and reinforce.

J&J's Baby Powder is safe,
and does not cause cancer.

Studies of tens of
thousands of women,

and thousands of men show

that talc does not cause cancer,

or asbestos-related disease.

J&J's Baby Powder has
never contained asbestos.

Regulators have tested both,

and they have always found
our talc to be asbestos-free.

Now, at the end of the day,

this is about
truth and integrity.

We are confident in the safety
of Johnson's Baby Powder,

and we stand behind
our products.

ALAN: They are
putting blinders on

to all the devastation and
disease that they're causing,

for the benefit of protecting
a corporate image

of a mother and baby,
and a product

that started the company.

And to me, that is
the ultimate sin.

DR. NESS: How many more
women will be impacted?

Well, millions.

While this drags on
for ten years, more.

And J&J will keep it
in the courts

as long as they possibly can.

MEL: A few months ago,
my doctor said

I had no more than six months.

I was told in
around March or April.

And here we are, July.

I have such a love for children,

I wonder if...

this was the reason why
I couldn't have any, as well.

My nephew, Aidan,

he's the love of my life.

I would have liked to see
him grow up a little more.

The thing that hit me
very profoundly was that

I started having days
recently where the only thing

I was looking forward to is
taking a strong sleeping pill,

and just sleeping at night,
because that would be

the only time
that I'm not hurting,

and not in pain,
so what's the purpose of...

living if all you're
looking forward to is

going to sleep in the evening?

What's the point

if you're not able to...

function, not able to serve,

not able to...

do anything?

I live on faith.

The name of my street is Faith.

RACHEL: We have to remember
that children born today

are exposed to these
chemicals from birth,

perhaps even before birth.

Now, what is going to happen
to them in adult life

as a result of that exposure?

We simply don't know.

Unless we do bring these
chemicals under better control,

we are certainly
headed for disaster.


DR. DODSON: Come on in!
MYMY: Hi, how are you?

so good to see you!

MYMY: Yes,
very good to see you.

DR. DODSON: Thanks
for coming again.

So, how are you doing?
MYMY: I'm good, I'm good.


MYMY: Yeah, it's
been a good summer.

You've been busy?

MYMY: Yeah, but I've
gotta go back to school.


MYMY: I was just
looking at this.

Who's Rachel Carson?

DR. DODSON: Rachel Carson
was really one of the first

female environmentalists.

DR. DODSON: She wrote this book,
in 1962 it came out,

called "Silent Spring."

And that's how we're named.

She was really calling
attention to the impact

of chemicals particularly
on the ecosystems.

But as part of that she was
testifying before Congress.

RACHEL: That's an indication

to warn the consumer

that he is buying and using
a very hazardous substance.

So many people write to me,
and so many people telephone me,

and say, "Well, I had no idea
that this stuff that I was using

"was dangerous in any way."

DR. DODSON: At the time
she was testifying,

she was actually
battling breast cancer.

And so here's a woman
who actually was

affected by breast cancer,
and an environmentalist.

And so that's why we're
named in her honour.

MYMY: Amazing.

She's an inspiration.


Yeah, so we have your results.

You know, I think
this is a great opportunity

to kind of walk through them,

ask any questions.
MYMY: Okay.

DR. DODSON: We have
the Day One morning,

Day One evening,

so that's your first day
of regular product use.

Then we have Day Two morning,
and Day Two evening;

that's the alternative
product use.

So you can see here, right,
if this is the 95 percentile

of most... of the national level,

you are above the 95th percent.

So you have higher levels
than most Americans

in at least three
of your samples here.

Your samples, actually, all four
of them had higher levels

of MEP, which
is a mono-ethyl phthalate,

which is one of the phthalates
that's typically used

in personal care products.

Now, these are... and I'm
gonna just show you kind of

the phthalates
that we looked at.

So you can see the skewness,
how quickly you can jump up.

You go from the morning
sample, to boom,

to the evening sample.
MYMY: Yeah.

MYMY: This was me
putting on normally

what I would put on to go out.

DR. DODSON: There was
another day, right,

where you avoided parabens
and phthalates for a couple days

but then kind of used
different products,

or alternative products, right?
It's not as much so.

Right, in fact,
the levels kind of go down.

I think it's probably
just almost like noise;

these are probably
kind of equivalent.

MYMY: Yeah, this is good,

because this is
the alternative products.

All the clean
products are clean.

DR. DODSON: So you
were able to find them.

MYMY: Yeah.
DR. DODSON: Yeah, to be clean.

That's great.
That's good news.

MYMY: My MEP levels were higher

than 95% of Americans, though.

Which is scary to me because
I don't know what that means

for my body; I don't know
if it's already done damage.

I don't know if I could
reverse this damage.

Where do I go from here?

Fertility is my concern,
cancer is my concern.

MTMT: I mean, it scares me.

WOMAN: Well, it's nearly
time for your next class,

so I must stop talking,

but there's one more thing
that I'd like to say.

You will be prettier,
you will be more popular.

Good grooming will pay dividends
to each and every one of you.


DR. ZOTA: Let's try to
change these beauty norms,

so that women don't have to
choose between their health,

and trying to look beautiful

according to these
arbitrary standards.

[crowd chattering]

MYMY: This whole experiment,
the prospects of it,

I think it will definitely
cascade into something

a lot larger than
just one person doing

a chemical body burden.

[indistinct speaker]

MYMY: Maybe by me speaking out,
there will be a change.

ANNOUNCER: Michael No...
Mymy Nguyen...

Filomena Ouanze[?]...

Abagail Olson...
Ardeep Pulani.

MYMY: The current idea
of beauty is socialized.

[crowd applause]

MYMY: And I don't want people to
feel a lack of self-confidence,

or lower self esteem
just because

they don't look like
someone they see on TV.


MYMY: I don't think
it's wrong to dye your hair

and feel beautiful.

It's not wrong that
people use makeup.

They just need a safer
alternative to makeup.

MYMY: We're gonna
take pictures outside.


Oh my... oh my god!

MYMY: I should be confident
knowing that I look this way,

but I'm not harming myself.

DAD: Three, two...


DAD: Oh, that's a nice one,
that's a good one!

MYMY: Sorry.

It's like, um...


Through this
journey of mine too,

I never felt 100% happy
with who I was,

and I think that is because
I was so distracted

with how I look,
and I was just like,

worried about what people
said about me, or like,

what my image was like.

MYMY: Find beauty in
what makes you stronger.

Find beauty in what you
worked really hard for.

I'm a hard-working woman,
I can be influential,

and this doesn't have anything
to do with how I look.

And if we could spark
the conversation,

spark the revolution

against these toxins...

just taking back the power that
we should be having already.

marks our subcommittee's

first hearing.

Today our focus is on
a group of widely used

personal care consumer products

that contain potentially
carcinogenic products.

Please rise; I will
begin by swearing you in.

SCOTT: Since 2009, cosmetics
manufacturers themselves

have reported using 88 chemicals

linked to cancer, birth defects,

or reproductive harm
in both men and women.

of your opinion,

is there any doubt in your mind

that the product that was sold

by Johnson & Johnson has
a connection to cancer?

DR. MCTIERNAN: I believe

that talcum powder products

do cause ovarian cancer.

common sense tell you that

when you're putting
something on your skin

that there's the potential
over time to have

something bad happen?

SCOTT: Most consumers assume

that FDA has actually reviewed

these products for safety

before we put them on
our bodies every day.

At least 2,000
products contain talc

that are available
for sale today,

of which more than
1,000 are loose powders,

or pressed powders,

that it only takes one fibre

lodged in the lung to contribute

to mesothelioma decades later.

MS. PRESSLEY: But I just don't
know how the consumers can have

any true trust and faith
here that they are safe

in the consumption
of these products.

SCOTT: I wouldn't
wait another day

to require a warning

on all these products.

MS. TLAIB: Corporate greed
is a type of cancer

in our democracy right now.

I can't wait for this
legislation to pass,

for people to stop dying.

Thank you so much.