New report reveals toxic chemicals with links to cancer, obesity and birth defects in men’s grooming products: Environmental Defence urges consumers, cosmetics industry and government to take measures to reduce exposure to toxins in products
Toronto, ON – With Movember underway, Environmental Defence is raising awareness about the toxic chemicals that affect men’s health in personal care products. The Manscape: The Dirt on Toxic Ingredients in Men’s Body Care Products, a new report released today, reveals that toxic chemicals with links to cancer, birth defects, sperm damage, obesity, asthma and other chronic health problems are found in commonly used men’s body care products like Pert Plus shampoo, Axe hair gel and Old Spice deodorant.
“While many men are ditching their shaving products this month to mark Movember, overall Canadian men are using more personal care products than ever before,” said Maggie MacDonald, toxics program manager with Environmental Defence. “It’s time the cosmetics industry and government removed the harmful and unnecessary chemicals in the things people use on their bodies every day.”
Environmental Defence sent 17 products (such as shampoo, aftershave, and shaving cream) found in the shaving kits of five different Canadian male volunteers to an external laboratory for testing. The tests found the following:

Four products contained probable human carcinogens
Five products contained chemicals known to harm male reproductive health
Ten products had artificial musks, some of which are shown to disrupt hormones in animals

Out of the products and chemicals we tested for, the following were the most toxic:

LOréal Preference Ultimate Black Hair Dye: 5 ingredients of concern including 1,4-dioxane and p-phenylenediamine
Pert Plus 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner Medium Hair: 4 ingredients of concern, including phthalates and 1,4-dioxane
Gillette Foamy Regular Shave Foam: 4 ingredients of concern, including artificial musks and sodium lauryl sulfate
Calvin Klein “Obsession” Aftershave: 4 ingredients of concern, including phthalates and artificial musks
Old Spice High Endurance Deodorant/Pure Sport: 3 ingredients of concern, including phthalates, and artificial musks
Speed Stick Stain Guard Deodorant/fresh: 3 ingredients of concern, including artificial musk

“It’s upsetting how something like shampoo can be filled with so many needless chemicals that can really affect people,” said John Power, one of the men who shared his shaving kit with Environmental Defence. “More work needs to be done around preventing these harmful chemicals from getting into our bodies.”
Of particular concern is that phthalates, which are added to fragrance to give it “staying power,” were discovered in some of the products. Some phthalates have already been banned in cosmetics in the EU. However in North America, they can be still found in most fragranced products as well as poly-vinyl chloride (PVC), and have been linked to risk factors for testicular cancer as well as asthma, obesity and infertility. While some of these harmful chemicals were listed right on the labels of the products, others were hidden.
“The long term effects of phthalates and other hormone-disrupting chemicals are not yet understood,” said MacDonald. “Canadian men use several products every morning, meaning their bodies are being continuously exposed to these chemicals.”
Environmental Defence, the organization that successfully advocated the banning of BPA in baby bottles and phthalates in toys, is urging Health Canada to strengthen federal cosmetics regulations to protect consumers when it comes to toxins in personal care products. It has also been calling upon the cosmetics industry to completely remove toxins from its products and has created guides and tools for consumers to avoid them.
The Environmental Defence report The Manscape: The Dirt on Toxic Ingredients in Men’s Body Care Products can be downloaded at
About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.
Jen Mayville, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext. 228; 905-330-0172 (cell);
Stephanie Kohls, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext 232; 647-280-9521 (cell);