Cover, blush, eyeliner -- makeup is the nightly transformation that allows me to take on the bright lights of TV.

But what's applied on the outside could provide a clue to what's happening inside me. It turns out that many beauty products contain phthalates -- just one of the chemical groups I tested positive for.

Recently, scientists at lobby group Environmental Defence examined my blood for toxins that are associated with cancer, developmental problems, and damage to my nervous system.

Of the 69 toxins we tested, I had 47 in measurable amounts. That included all of the seven types of phthalates we tested for -- chemicals that are suspected to be hormone disruptors and reproductive and developmental toxins, according to Environmental Defence.

"It's linked to things like birth defects and a range of health problems," said Aaron Freeman, Environmental Defence's policy director. "The problems may not materialize until much later in life."

Among the complete results (PDF) -- detectable levels of:

  • Seven out of seven phthalates
  • 12 of 15 PCBs or polychlorinated biphenyls, which are banned carcinogens
  • Four of 13 PFCs or perfluorinated chemicals
  • 18 of 28 organochlorine pesticides including DDT
  • Five of five metals, including mercury, managnese, lead, and cadmium
  • Tested positive for bisphenol A

Allowing our people to be exposed to dangerous toxins without a battery of long-term tests is dangerous, said Freeman.

"There's an experiment going on across the country," said Freeman. "We don't know what the effects would be."

But a representative of the plastics industry said there was no evidence that the low levels found in these tests had any negative consequences.

"These chemicals have been through the chemical management program of Canada's federal government," said Marion Axmith of the Vinyl Council of Canada.

"We're committed to safety in our products and in our customers," she said.

At Simon Fraser University, Dr. Scott Venners studies the effects of certain chemicals at low levels.

He says it's too early to know just what the effects of some of these chemicals are.

"I'm not sure if it's safe or not," Venners told CTV News.

Studies are under way to determine if there are health effects of low levels of garden pesticides, he said.

The government has already banned bisphenol A from baby bottles, said Venners, on the grounds it might affect the development of newborns.

But there are many other chemicals that also show up in mothers and their babies -- including phthalates.

I'm not going to stop being an anchor just to avoid the makeup. But I can tell you tomorrow about some steps you can take to avoid these chemicals in everyday life.

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