Three cheers to Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Ed Markey and Rep. Tammy Baldwin for championing women’s health, children’s health and sustainable businesses by introducing the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 today! We love this bill and here’s why it has the full support of the environmental health community:

Current cosmetics laws are 70 years old and failing to protect public health. Under the current law from 1938, manufacturers are allowed to put known carcinogens and other harmful chemicals into personal care products with no required safety assessments. What’s the result of this antiquated system? People are getting sick. For a personal story about why this bill is so important, check out this blog post from a hairstylist who is ill from formaldehyde poisoning.

Other countries are far ahead of the US when it comes to cosmetics safety.
Just look at the Brazilian Blowout scandal. This supposedly “formaldehyde free” hair product was found to contain high levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen that causes asthma and other severe effects as described in the hairstylist’s blog. This product is banned in other countries and federal OSHA has warned salons to stop using it due to cancer risk. Yet the FDA has done nothing and  these unsafe hair products are still being used in salons across America.

Even baby products contain formaldehyde and other carcinogens. Brazilian Blowout is just the tip of the iceberg: Many body-care products, even iconic baby brands Johnson’s Baby Shampoo and Sesame Street Bubble Bath, contain carcinogens like formaldehyde and 1, 4 dioxane. These chemicals often aren’t listed on labels due to loopholes in the law. The Safe Cosmetics Act will fix this problem and ensure our right to know what’s in the products we put on our bodies.

The Safe Cosmetics Act is good for businesses as well as consumers. In case the cosmetics industry hasn’t noticed, sustainable businesses are the fastest growing segment of their industry. Consumers want safe products. Companies will only gain by phasing out harmful chemicals and innovating safer alternatives.  The Safe Cosmetics Act also includes important provisions for data sharing and supplier disclosure that will provide businesses and consumers with the information they need to make the best choices.

The Safe Cosmetics Act works especially for small businesses. There was some uproar in the small business community about last year’s version of the bill. The bill sponsors worked hard to address those concerns and ensure the new bill is workable and helpful for small businesses. Here’s a great piece from Rebecca Hamilton, co-owner of Badger, about the Five Reasons Why the Safe Cosmetics Act Makes Sense for Small Businesses. Kudos to Rebecca and Badger for stepping forward with a strong voice to support this bill.

As Fran Drescher has said, “This is a non partisan issue, this is a human issue.”  (Check out Fran’s great piece today in The Hill!). The Safe Cosmetics Act is not about Democrats or Republicans, it’s about women wanting to protect their families and have control over the products they bring into their homes and put on their bodies. Everyone is affected by cancer, infertility, learning disabilities and other serious health impacts linked to chemicals in our environment and in our everyday products like cosmetics. And everyone — women, men, babies, businesses and the politicians too — have a lot to gain by legislation that protects our health and spurs the innovation of safer, healthier products.

So let the games begin! We need YOU to help pass the Safe Cosmetics Act, so please take action here — and let’s get some common-sense legislation moving through the US Congress!

From Stacy Malkan, Lisa Archer, Janet Nudelman, Mia Davis and all of us at the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a coalition of more than 150 nonprofit organizations working to protect the health of consumers and workers by eliminating dangerous chemicals from cosmetics. Core members include: Clean Water Action, the Breast Cancer Fund, Commonweal, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition and Women’s Voices for the Earth.

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7 Responses to “”

  1. Ellen Calmas @itakeaction2 Says:

    This is a great step forward. Let’s hope the power of the Internet gets thousands of people to write their representatives and help get this legislation passed.

  2. Stefanie Says:

    Thanks for this great article! I am german, is there any possibility for me to help pass the Safe Cosmetics Act from here?

  3. Beth Says:

    Safe personal care products should be available to everyone. This is truly a public health issue that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Thank you to all at the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics for all you do to promote this important legislation!

  4. Ann @ The Certified Organic Body Store Says:

    Yes – good for my business! Let’s make sure that no one is slathering on dangerous chemicals!

  5. Cindy Jones Says:

    Where is this Safe Cosmetics Act? You say its been released but you provide no link. I have searched and not found a copy. Where is it hiding? The public has a right to read this bill to see what it contains and make their own decisions about whether or not it will indeed be beneficial.

  6. Stacy Malkan Says:

    The bill will be posted here Cindy, HR 2359:
    However, we are hearing that, due to staffing issues, the full text of the bill will not be posted on the .gov website until July 1. The bill sponsors have shared a PDF of the bill with people who have promised not to post it online, because of formatting and small language changes that need to be made. I encourage you to contact the bill sponsors to ask for a PDF copy.

  7. Bambi Lipphardt Says:

    A little baking soda mixed w/ water rubbed on the pits as well as spraying everclear on your pits will work very well. The two together work VERY well as opposed to one or the other. Burns if you just shaved or waxed for a minute- but I’ve gotten used to it.Cheap and inexpensive and not harmful to anything or anyone.

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