Can I get Cancer from my New Shoes or my New Handbag? My Ear-rings give me a Rash

Cancer causing chemicals identified in handbags, shoes and gloves. Jewellery contains allergenic Nickel – leading to unpleasant skin reactions. Do our resellers really care about what they sell us?

While you read why not listen to my album ‘Electro Baroque‘ (all tracks are also available on iTunes using the link here)? Classical music using modern instruments:

or if you prefer to listen to my electro/techno album ‘Studio Valiumm‘ here are the videos (also on iTunes using the link here):

More info about my music is at the dedicated website www.TRANSFORMATES.com

Model with hand bag from reputable supplier
Young Lady carrying out a ‘hands-on’ investigation into a hand bag from a reputable supplier

The German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) addresses the management of risks and coordinates monitoring for the Federal States (Bundesländer) of tobacco products, cosmetics and other goods which either come directly into contact with people or with food intended for human consumption. Under the heading of goods they include leather articles like handbags, shoes and gloves as well as jewellery and items used in body piercings.

160108 Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit (BVL) Entrance Berlin
Entrance to the Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit (BVL) in Berlin

Since 2014 the BVL has been investigating the levels of the carcinogen Chromium 6 in leather products and the amounts of allergen Nickel being taken up by the human body from jewellery and body piercing products. These are risk areas considered by the BVL to be of particular concern to human heath due to the linkage of chromium 6 with cancer and the potential for nickel to elicit serious contact allergies. I explained more about allergic contact dermatitis and its various causes in my recent article on this subject which described how I became an unwilling guinea pig to an allergy caused by laundry additives. Click on the title below if you would like to read this article and see some rather unpleasant photos (of my affected body parts):

Poison in your Washing Machine: Allergic Contact Dermatitis from Laundry Detergents, Softeners, Conditioners and Whiteners

Allergenic Nickel in Jewellery and Clothing Accessories

The BVL published its latest research results in a German report on the 23rd November 2015. The report presented the findings of its investigation into whether products were exceeding the permitted maximum levels of Nickel which can be absorbed into the human body. It highlighted that jewellery articles on sale in Germany continue to exceed the permitted levels of this serious allergen. Nickel causes contact allergies when the nickel ion enters the human body – the potential to enter the body increases when the item containing the nickel is frequently or constantly being worn like a ring, an ear ring or other piercing item.

Baby with Multiple Ear Piercings
Baby with Multiple Ear Piercings

Highlights from the BVL study of nickel uptake from jewellery/accessories:

  • 556 Samples were tested
  • 17.4 percent of the earrings and other piercings tested exceeded the permitted maximum limits (Nickel uptake of 0,35 µg/cm²/week)
  • 4.9 percent of jewellery, fasteners, accessories exceeded the permitted limits (0,88 µg/cm²/week)
  • There had been no improvement in results since an earlier study in 2008

The results indicated that it is not simply the cheapest fashion items that lead to a serious risk of an allergic reaction. An item made from 18-carat white gold for example can contain 20% nickel as an alloy. Such items of jewellery or wrist watch casings can cause allergic skin contact reactions in about 1 in 8 people. The problem with nickel is made worse if the body’s immune system is sensitized to the metal through pronounced exposure. Once sensitized even a low level exposure can lead to a severe allergic reaction. Some samples tested by the BVG had levels of nickel which were 10 times the permitted maximum level.

Example of a white gold wedding ring and a diamond engagement ring
Example of a white gold wedding ring and a diamond engagement ring

Cancer Causing and Allergenic Chromium 6 in Leather

The investigation by the DVG also uncovered continuing high levels of another nasty contaminant – chromium 6 (or hexavalent chromium) – in leather products. They summarised their results as follows:

  • 386 Samples were tested
  • 16 Percent had chromium 6 concentrations exceeding the maximum permitted limit (3 mg/kg)
  • Main culprits were leather gloves (33% exceeded) , bags (25%), work clothes (23%) and footwear (13%)
  • 12 percent of samples of products produced in Germany exceeded the permitted level. For products produced in China this increased to 33%.

In addition to causing allergic reactions chromium has also been identified as a carcinogen. The form of chromium investigated by the BVG is the highly dangerous 6 or hexavalent form of the chemical. Some forms of chromium used in processing leather are relatively harmless but even these can be converted to the 6 form if appropriate precautions are not taken during the tanning process. In addition to causing severe skin contact allergies chromium 6 in high concentrations is a very toxic chemical and known genotoxic carcinogen. In leather chromium 6 compounds are sometimes used to produce a red or pink colouration.

How confident are you that the shoes you are buying do not contain excessive levels of chromium VI?
How confident are you that the shoes you are buying do not contain excessive levels of chromium 6?

These days we purchase many of our fashion items on-line and sometimes the origins of such goods are unclear. In addition, imported goods may not follow the strict product content requirements demanded by our local legislation. One way we can try to use our consumer power to reduce these risks is to require suppliers to confirm in writing that their goods fully conform with local laws and regulations concerning levels of chromium 6 (for leather) and nickel (jewellery, clasps, piercings, buttons, wrist watch cases). Good luck!

Chris Duggleby

To see the original report from the BVL (written in German) please use the link below:

Lederprodukte enthalten weiterhin zu viel Chrom VI

A lady creating using clothing which ehnances the visibility of her leather shoesl wearing leather shoes from reputable supplier
A lady creatively using clothing to enhance the visibility of her leather shoes (from a reputable supplier)

If you found this article interesting please consider taking a look at some of my other recent reports on similar subjects.

Just click on the titles below:

…starting with some more serious stuff…

28th Feb 2017: Vaccinations Cause Children to Masturbate, as well as Dyslexia, Autism, Sleep Disorders and Brain Tumours

13th December 2015 Health Risk – Potential Carcinogens Found in Advent Calendar Chocolates – German Investigation

26th July 2015 Poison in your Washing Machine: Allergic Contact Dermatitis from Laundry Detergents, Softeners, Conditioners and Whiteners

25th October 2015: Health Risks: Food allergy prevention – Latest research ‘feed infants early with allergenic food

17th October 2015: Health Risk: Vitamin and antioxidant supplements help cancer cells become malignant – latest research from Texas

31st May 2015: German Concern about Potentially Carcinogenic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Cosmetics  

11th May 2014: Product Development Risk: New Air Conditioning Coolant Gas Produces Carbonyl Difluoride (Highly Toxic – Related to WW1 Gas Phosgene) in Vehicle Fires

16th April 2014: Ethical Pricing: Same Drug – For Leukaemia 21 Euro (Now Withdrawn) – For Multiple Sclerosis 888 Euro

6th April 2014: Product Quality Risk: Shoes Sold On-line By Zalando Recalled Due To Chromium 6 Contamination – Known Allergen And Carcinogen

29th December 2012: Spreading diarrhea and vomit through the washing machine– The Norovirus propagator in our kitchen

and here are some fun reports…

21st June 2015: Bio-undies: Guilt free Passion with ‘Easy Emma’ and ‘Loose Harry’and Getting Rid of Garden Snails with Rent-a-Duck

4th March 2015: Hamburg Reeperbahn (St. Pauli): Germans install walls that urinate on passers-by

19th April 2014: German Police Catch Hedgehogs Testing Home Made Crash Helmets in Saarbrücken

17th April 2014: Niche On-line Dating Services (Specialities: Herpes, Thrush and Genital Warts)

18th March 2014: Germany and Finland Joint Investigation: New Case of Sexual Cannibalism Including Self-mutilation (Castration) During Intercourse.

18th August 2012: How Bavarians and Austrians use their middle finger – Fingerhakeln: a men-only sport (did Arnold Schwarzenegger start training this way?).

You can also find some of my more humorous reports in the Alpine Press section of this site using the link here.

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Multi Vitamins and Antioxidant Supplements Help Cancer Grow and Become Malignant

Many of us take vitamin or antioxidant supplements to try and improve our chances of preventing and surviving cancer. Recent research regarding the benefits of such dietary supplements has thrown this strategy into doubt. There is now growing scientific evidence that multivitamins and antioxidants actually feed the cancer cells – research indicates that cancer grows faster when it is fed with such supplements. 

While you read why not listen to my album ‘Electro Baroque‘ (all tracks are also available on iTunes using the link here)? Classical music using modern instruments:

or if you prefer to listen to my electro/techno album ‘Studio Valiumm‘ here are the videos (also on iTunes using the link here):

More info about my music is at the dedicated website www.TRANSFORMATES.com

Commercially available multivitamin tablets
Commercially available multivitamin tablets

Research published recently in the respected scientific journal Nature describes how the condition of ‘oxidative stress‘ prevents cancer cells from metastasising. This is the condition where they break off from the original tumour and move to other parts of the body to cause new tumorous growths – in other words the cancer becomes malignant. This oxidative stress can be overcome through the application of antioxidants like those used in body-building and vitamin supplements.

Typical Antioxidant Glutathione produced by living organisms
Typical Antioxidant Glutathione produced by living organisms

This research therefore strongly reinforces the view that antioxidant and vitamin supplements can actually promote the development of malignant tumours. Until now such supplements have actually been prescribed to cancer patients in the belief that they can help the body in its defence against cancer. If these research results are confirmed physicians will need to reassess the use of such supplements in the therapy of cancer and other diseases like HIV. Likewise the everyday use of vitamin and antioxidant supplements by millions of people in the hope that they improve health may be wrong. For those of us already benefiting from a normal healthy diet such supplements may actually be doing more harm than good.

As with all health related research it is important to duplicate the results and ensure they are applicable in all relevant circumstances. However the team around Sean Morrison, director of the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, is well respected. He explained “The idea that antioxidants are good for you has been so strong that there have been clinical trials done in which cancer patients were administered antioxidants….. Some of those trials had to be stopped because the patients getting the antioxidants were dying faster. Our data suggest the reason for this: cancer cells benefit more from antioxidants than normal cells do.

Vitamin C Antioxidant L ascorbic acid
Vitamin C Antioxidant L ascorbic acid

The studies were conducted in specialised mice that had been transplanted with melanoma (skin cancer) cells from patients. Earlier studies have shown that the metastasis of melanoma cells in these mice is predictive of their metastasis in human patients. Metastasis, the process by which cancer cells spread from their initial site to other regions in the body, leads to the death of most cancer patients. Sean Morrison’s team found that when antioxidants were administered to the mice, the cancer spread more quickly than in mice that did not get antioxidants.

The Texas research now needs to be tested in people, however the team has already suggested that cancer should be treated with additives that promote oxidation (pro-oxidants rather than antioxidants) and that cancer patients should refrain from supplementing their diet with large doses of antioxidants (more details available in the original article in Nature using the link here).

Clearly more research needs to be carried out in this area but this is not the first time that the benefits of supplements have been questioned. In 2012 E.E. Martinez and co-workers at Vanderbilt University performing large-scale cancer prevention trials with Selenium (antioxidant) and Vitamin E showed that the antioxidants failed to prevent, and in some cases promoted, prostate cancer formation in men without a history of the disease (more details in their original publication here).

Similarly in 2014 Martin Bergo and coworkers published research results showing that antioxidants (Vitamin E and N-acetycysteine) accelerated lung cancer in mice. Using doses similar to those found in human multivitamin pills they found that those mice that had ingested the antioxidants developed tumours that were three times bigger than control mice and they died twice as fast (more details of this Gothenburg University Team’s research in their original publication here).

Clearly these findings will not be greeted enthusiastically by those drugs companies that have been encouraging millions of customers to prophylactically take multivitamin and antioxidant supplements. However, as the body of scientific evidence builds, the future of such supplements may be questionable. One thing however has not changed by this research – a balanced diet including all the natural vitamins and elements provided by unprocessed natural foods is still best health option on offer (and take it from me – it can be cheap!).

Chris Duggleby.

Typical vitamin supplements
Typical vitamin supplements

If you found this article interesting please consider taking a look at some of my other recent reports on similar subjects.

Just click on the titles below:

28th Feb 2017: Vaccinations Cause Children to Masturbate, as well as Dyslexia, Autism, Sleep Disorders and Brain Tumours

26th July 2015: Poison in your Washing Machine: Allergic Contact Dermatitis from Laundry Detergents, Softeners, Conditioners and Whiteners

31st May 2015: German Concern about Potentially Carcinogenic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Cosmetics  

11th May 2014: Product Development Risk: New Air Conditioning Coolant Gas Produces Carbonyl Difluoride (Highly Toxic – Related to WW1 Gas Phosgene) in Vehicle Fires

16th April 2014: Ethical Pricing: Same Drug – For Leukaemia 21 Euro(Now Withdrawn) – For Multiple Sclerosis 888 Euro

6th April 2014: Product Quality Risk: Shoes Sold On-line By Zalando Recalled Due To Chromium 6 Contamination – Known Allergen And Carcinogen

29th December 2012: Spreading diarrhea and vomit through the washing machine – The Norovirus propagator in our kitchen

21st June 2015: Bio-undies: Guilt free Passion with ‘Easy Emma’ and ‘Loose Harry’and Getting Rid of Garden Snails with Rent-a-Duck

You can also find some of my more humorous reports in the Alpine Press section of his personal site using the link here.

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