By Mia Davis
National Grassroots Coordinator of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
Today’s a beautiful day for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. For starters, we’re launching The Story of Cosmetics, a 7-minute film from the good people at The Story of Stuff Project, Free Range Studios and all of us at the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. The new video is hard-hitting, honest and fun: It explains the problems with our current system (which allows toxic chemicals into cosmetics and into our bodies, our kids, our waterways) and then outlines clear solutions.
And: today Congress introduced game-changing legislation called the Safe Cosmetics Act! Thanks to overwhelming — no, deafening — consumer demand, members of Congress agree that we need to finally update our 70-year-old cosmetics legislation and close loopholes that allow the cosmetics industry to put unsafe chemicals (and chemicals that have never been assessed for safety) into personal care products like lipstick and baby shampoo.
We couldn’t have picked a better day to launch The Story of Cosmetics. Please watch it, get fired up, and share it widely. We need to turn the volume up even higher so that more people learn about this issue, and tell Congress to support the Safe Cosmetics Act.
Carcinogens in shampoo, BPA in baby bottles – it’s all the same problem
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ efforts to push the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to clean up cosmetics is closely tied to the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition’s efforts to put common sense limits on toxic chemicals in every day products that are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – things like baby bottles and mattresses.
Toxic baby bath bubbles and baby bottles may be regulated by different federal agencies, but these harmful products shine a light on our government’s failure to keep us safe from toxic chemicals.
Consumers spawned a market for safe cosmetic products- and now they are leading the charge on stronger laws
The mainstream cosmetics industry has spent millions to maintain the status quo (i.e. to ensure it can regulate itself), but the writing is on the wall. American consumers have lost their patience with toxic personal care products – especially when they find out that companies marketing the same products in Europe and Japan have stripped out some of these offending chemicals. Is it any wonder that green and clean personal care products are the fastest growing segment of the cosmetics industry? The success of brands like Badger, California Baby, Weleda, Marie Veronique Organics and hundreds of others shows that you can make beautiful products (and profits) without using harmful chemicals. Voting with our dollars and keeping our families safer with nontoxic cosmetics is a great start, but we can’t simply shop out way out of this problem: we need the Safe Cosmetics Act passed in order to truly protect all of us from unnecessary exposures to toxins in cosmetics.
Even with this strong new proposal and loud public support, Congress can’t fix the problem overnight. In the meantime, here are some ways we can lessen exposure to harmful chemicals in personal care products:
- Use fewer cosmetics less often, and choose products with shorter ingredient lists and fewer hazardous synthetic chemicals.
- Avoid the mystery concoction known as “fragrance,” made from a dozen or more secret chemicals. Everything has a fragrance these days, from make-up, to candles and even clothes. Check labels carefully; even “fragrance free” products may contain fragrance chemicals to cover up the odor of other chemicals
- Read labels: There are great resources online to help consumers make sense of confusing product labels. One of the best is Campaign for Safe Cosmetics partner, which ranks products for toxicity on a scale of 1-10.
- Click here for yet more tips on avoiding toxic chemicals in every day consumer products.
Thanks for watching and sharing the short video, and for all that you do to keep families, workers, and the environment safe!