Documentary Feature | 90min & 78min | Completed

In 1982, world renowned epidemiologist, Dr. Daniel Cramer, linked Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder to ovarian cancer. Since the 1960’s, J&J allegedly knew the risks and did nothing. In 2004, Dr. Philippa Darbre, a UK scientist, found parabens, a chemical preservative in many cosmetics, in breast tissue. In 2018, the National Institute of Health’s sister study linked breast cancer to personal care product use.

Links to hormonal disruption in baby boys, developmental delays, low sperm count in men, infertility, cancer, diabetes, obesity and skin disease – the cosmetic industry isn’t pretty.

Each morning we slather with 1000’s of chemicals, many of which are proven to be toxic.  In the United States, the Cosmetic and Personal Care Industry regulates itself. In Canada, implementing regulations is under scrutiny. There is doubt propagated by big industries making claims that we have nothing to worry about, positioning themselves as champions of personal empowerment through their multibillion dollar advertising campaigns.

Top researchers worldwide have the hard science to answer the question ‘Are cosmetics and personal care products a public health risk?

Toxic Beauty is a documentary feature film with exclusive access to scientists, lawyers, advocates, regulators, politicians, a dynamic whistle blower, survivors and women who have lost their lives. It follows the class action lawsuit against J&J and the plaintiffs, personal stories of women fighting for justice in a race against time with this deadly disease.

Woven throughout the film is a human experiment. We document, as Boston University medical student, Mymy Nguyen, measures her chemical body burden from over 27 products. Scientists monitor her shocking results.

In the end, the film meets the companies and people who offer solutions and optimism for safer, toxicant free cosmetics.

A Film by Phyllis Ellis
Executive Producers Peter Raymont, Steve Ord, Cheryl Staurulakis, Leo Staurulakis
Producers Barri Cohen, Stephen Paniccia
Supervising Producer Andrew Munger
Cinematographer Iris Ng Editor James Yates
Music Robert Carli Conceived by Sarah Jay

Produced by White Pine Pictures In Association With documentary Channel, SRC
With The Participation of Canada Media Fund, Rogers Cable Network Fund
Developed With The Participation of Ontario Creates

International Distribution Kew Media
Toxic Beauty is a sponsored project of Women Make Movies

“powerful, alarming and will almost certainly send at least a few people straight to their bathrooms to dump the contents of their makeup bags.”

Christine Sismondo

Toronto Star


Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival, Toronto, ON
Sunday April 28, 2019, 6:30pm (Hot Docs Ted Rogers CInema)
      – World Premiere with guests Phyllis Ellis (Director), Deane Berg, Dr. Daniel Cramer & Dr. Ami Zota
Monday, April 29, 2019, 12:45pm (TIFF Bell Lightbox 1)
Thursday, May 2, 2019, 5:45pm (Scotiabank Theatre, Cinema 3)

DOXA Film Festival, Vancouver, BC

Tuesday, May 7, 2019, 12:00pm (Vancity Theatre)
Wednesday, May 8, 2019, 6:00pm (Cinematheque)