500 Cosmetics Companies Pledge to Make Safer Health and Beauty Products
Lacking Federal Regulation and Enforcement, Manufacturers and States Take the Lead on Safety
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, January 25, 2007
Contacts: Marisa Walker, Breast Cancer Fund, (415) 346-8223 x17; Stacy Malkan, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, (510) 848-5343 x105
SAN FRANCISCO—The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics announced today that more than 500 cosmetics and body care products companies have promised to eliminate toxic ingredients from their products worldwide.
By signing the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, companies pledge to replace ingredients linked to cancer, birth defects, hormone disruption and other negative health effects with safer alternatives within three years.
Major concerns regarding the safety of personal care products led the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics in 2004 to create the Compact, formally known as the “Compact for the Global Production of Safe Health and Beauty Products.” The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not review or regulate cosmetics products or ingredients for safety before they are sold to the public and has no legal authority to require safety assessments of cosmetics.
“The companies that have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics are really leading the way toward safer products and healthier people,” said Cindy Luppi, organizing director for Clean Water Action in Boston and one of the founding members of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. “We’re moving in the right direction, but ultimately the FDA needs to step up and take responsibility for public health.”
In the absence of federal oversight, states also have taken steps to ensure that consumers have access to safer products and more information about the products they buy. On January 1, California became the first in the nation to enact state legislation governing the safety and reporting of cosmetic ingredients. The California Safe Cosmetics Act requires manufacturers to disclose to the state any product ingredient that is on state or federal lists of chemicals that cause cancer or birth defects. Washington and Oregon are introducing similar legislation, and both New York and Maryland introduced bills last year.
Recent signers of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics include Aveda founder Horst Rechelbacher's new company, Intelligent Nutrients; and celebrity aesthetician brands Crush Groove Cosmetics, a make-up line, and Mi Amore Skincare.
Compact signers include big names like The Body Shop and Burt’s Bees, as well as smaller and niche manufacturers. The names of all signing companies can be found by visiting www.safecosmetics.org/companies/signers.cfm.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a coalition of U.S.-based health and environmental groups working to protect cosmetics consumers from toxic chemicals and hold companies accountable for the safety of their products.
The world’s largest cosmetics companies, including as L'Oréal, Revlon, Estée Lauder, Gap, Avon, OPI and Proctor & Gamble have refused to sign the Compact, which requires that manufacturers meet several criteria, including:
• Meeting EU standards banning chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects globally;
• Conducting an inventory of all ingredients to determine whether they use chemicals that pose health hazards including cancer, hormone disruption, genetic mutation, reproductive toxicity, developmental harm and neurotoxicity;
• Implementing substitution plans that replace chemicals of concern with safer alternatives; and
• Reporting on their progress in meeting these goals to the public.
Women and girls use an average of 12 personal care products daily, according to a 2004 survey conducted by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. One out of every 100 personal care products on the market contains known or probable carcinogens and only 11 percent of the more than 10,500 ingredients in products have been assessed for safety, according to Skin Deep, an online, brand-by-brand safety guide that contains in-depth information on more than 14,000 products and their ingredients by the Environmental Working Group.
# # #
Founding members of The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics include Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, Breast Cancer Fund, Commonweal, Friends of the Earth, Women's Voices for the Earth, Environmental Working Group, National Black Environmental Justice Network and the National Environmental Trust.
For more information and background on the campaign, and a link to the Skin Deep database, visit www.SafeCosmetics.org.