PODCAST: Toxic Beauty — an interview with Phyllis Ellis

In this episode, Meghan Murphy speaks with Phyllis Ellis, director of “Toxic Beauty,” a documentary looking at the impact of toxic chemicals in beauty and personal care products.

We know that companies have been putting toxic chemicals in things like cigarettes, and are beginning to get tuned into the fact many other products we buy and use also contain carcinogens. But to what extent? Many women wear up to 20 products a day — from lotions, to makeup, to hair products. But do we know what’s in the things we put on our faces and bodies daily? The frightening truth is that many of us slather on 1000s of chemicals every morning, many of which are toxic. Companies know this and governments know it, yet are doing little to stop it.

In 1982, world renowned epidemiologist, Dr. Daniel Cramer, linked Johnson & Johnson baby powder to ovarian cancer. Since the 60s, the company allegedly knew the risks and did nothing. Last July, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay US$4.7 billion to a group of women who said the company’s baby powder caused ovarian cancer. J&J is still facing lawsuits from more than 100,000 plaintiffs, yet the product continues to be sold across North America.

A new documentary, scheduled to air on CBC’s documentary channel on January 5 2020, explores the consequences of Johnson & Johnson’s lack of concern for their customers’ health, and the impact on women, in particular. Toxic Beauty delves not only into the dangers of talc-based products, but of the many other ingredients used in beauty and personal care products many people use daily, assuming they are safe.

In this episode, I speak with Phyllis Ellis, director of Toxic Beauty, about the extent of the problem, and what we can do to take action.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including The Spectator, UnHerd, the CBC, New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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