concerns about the potential impact on brain function, loss of facial
expressions and a production process that relies upon animal cruelty are
fueling a backlash against Botox and related cosmetic treatments. More
than 2.7 million cosmetic Botox procedures were
performed in 2007, making Botox the nation's number one cosmetic
Despite this widespread usage, a lawsuit filed in July
alleges that manufacturer "Allergan obscures that Botox is a highly
lethal toxin with serious and life-threatening side effects." Botox is
injected botulinum, the same bacterium the causes deadly botulism.
In a study published in in the Journal of Neuroscience
published April 2, tests on rats found that injections can migrate to brain tissue.
As early as 2003, Paul de Freitas, a resident committee member of the British Casting
Directors Guild, warned that Botox injections that paralyze the facial muscles effectively cut actresses careers short. "We waste a great
deal of time weeding them out at the audition stage of the casting
process; we watch them on film and when you get the close-up, there's
simply no subtlety of emotion there at all." In February, a British commentator noted "almost every American movie I see now contains a cast in the same poisoned state." While
Botox is used to treat some neurological disorders, most of the $1.2
billion in sales last year were for temporary cosmetic improvement.
Whether for therapeutic or cosmetic applications, every production run
be tested to assess the potency of new batches of the toxin. Allergan's
testing finds the
dose that kills 50 percent of the animals used. Those who don't die
immediately may languish with varying degrees of
paralysis before being euthanized at the end of the three- to four-day
test. One could hardly imagine a more distressful test. The Humane Society characterized Botox testing as "the poster child for everything that is wrong with animal testing."
does the use of cosmetic Botox say about our judgement, values and
humanity? It is ironic that advertisements for these treatments note
that the face is considered "the gateway to the soul."