Have you ever wondered what is really in your cosmetics and personal care products? Or whether all those ingredients that you can barely pronounce are actually safe? Some of them are linked to cancer, birth defects, infertility and other health problems. Still others have never been tested for their impact on human health. We need your help to convince Congress that the beauty industry needs a safety makeover!
The Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2013 (H.R. 1385) gives consumers, parents and environmental health advocates a real chance at national legislation that would eliminate harmful chemicals from the products women, men and children put on their bodies every day.
Tell your Representative that safe cosmetics and personal care products are important to you and your family and ask him or her to sign on as a co-sponsor of the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act. Or, if you're represented by one of the bill's authors, Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) or Ed Markey (D-Mass.), send them your thanks!
From lotion and shampoo to blush and even lipstick, fragrance seems to be everywhere in personal care products. A few years ago the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released a report, Not So Sexy, that found harmful ingredients in fragrance that companies keep secret from the public. Now, a new report by our partners at Women’s Voices for the Earth, Secret Scents: How Hidden Fragrance Ingredients Harm Public Health , has found that tens of millions of people suffer from skin and respiratory allergies caused by chemicals in fragrance. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible for us to avoid specific fragrance allergens because companies keep fragrance ingredients a secret.
In the E.U. manufacturers of personal care products are required to disclose the presence of 26 common fragrance allergens. Many of these companies make the same products in the U.S., but most don’t disclose allergens because it’s not required by U.S. law. There is absolutely no reason why vital public health information should be kept a secret.
The solution is simple: Companies should disclose fragrance ingredients in products so that we have the choice to avoid certain ingredients like allergens. There is absolutely no reason why vital public health information should be kept a secret.
Please take a moment to tell the fragrance industry to stop keeping fragrance ingredients a secret!
Lead in lipstick. Hair straighteners made with cancer-causing chemicals. The list goes on. When it comes to hazardous cosmetics, we thought we had seen it all.
And now this: Perfume for babies, brought to you by Dolce & Gabbana, which has recently announced plans to sell this new product. So wrong.
Babies are especially susceptible to the dangers of toxic chemicals in fragrances and other personal care products. Early life exposure to toxic chemicals that mimic hormones can contribute to early puberty in girls and may have long term impacts that manifest later in life, including an increased risk of breast cancer and other cancers.
Take action today and call on Dolce & Gabbana to reverse course and halt the development and sale of its baby perfume in the United States.
Update: A prior version of this action was directed at Dolce & Gabbana Fragrance, a brand of Procter & Gamble (P&G). P&G has now stated that it will not market the Dolce & Gabbana fragrance for babies in the United States. Though the P&G website clearly indicates that Dolce & Gabbana Fragrance is a P&G brand, several industry media sources have quoted the company as denying a relationship with Dolce & Gabbana baby perfume. We are asking P&G to explain this apparent discrepancy. In the meantime, we have removed reference to P&G from the action; the letter-writing campaign to halt the sale of Dolce & Gabbana's baby perfume in the U.S. is now targeted at Dolce & Gabbana's CEO, Alfonso Dolce. Thank you for taking action to protect babies from the potentially toxic chemicals in fragrances.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics recently learned that American Salon Magazine, a widely read publication in the salon industry, has recognized the original formula of Brazilian Blowout, the Acai Professional Smoothing Solution, as a “2012 Professional Choice Winner.”
We understand that Brazilian Blowout is very good at getting the results your customers want, but at too high of a cost to people’s health. Please take a moment to write to the editors of American Salon Magazine to express your disappointment in their endorsement.
This holiday season, demand that retailers take your health seriously and give them a lump of coal until they do. Write to Walmart, Target, Macy’s, CVS, Walgreens, Costco, and Kroger’s and demand that they adopt a policy and process to only sell personal care products that don’t have carcinogens and other toxic chemicals at all of their store locations, starting with their own store brands.
Read our new report, Retailer Therapy, to find out which retail stores are leading the way and which are lagging behind.
October is breast cancer awareness month, and thousands of people will participate in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer because they have been touched by the disease and want to do something about it. Although Avon claims it is “in it to end it,” the company uses chemicals linked to breast cancer and other diseases in its products—chemicals like parabens, triclosan, and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives.
In August, we challenged Avon to meet or beat Johnson & Johnson’s commitment to getting cancer-causing chemicals out of its products. Despite thousands of you writing to Avon, the company has yet to make this commitment.
Help us tell Avon that if it wants to be “in it to end it,” it needs to stop using chemicals linked to cancer and other diseases in its products. Write to the company using the form below.
Together we did it! We convinced one of the largest cosmetics companies in the world, Johnson & Johnson, makers of Aveeno, Neutrogena, ROC, Clean & Clear, Purpose and Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, to agree to phase out chemicals that can cause cancer and harm our health from its baby AND adult products in 57 countries around the world!
But we can’t stop here! The Campaign is challenging the other global cosmetics giants to step up to the plate and MEET OR BEAT J&J’s commitments.
Please take 5 minutes today to demand that L’Oreal (Maybelline, Garnier, Kiehl’s, The Body Shop, Softsheen-Carson), Procter & Gamble (CoverGirl, Pantene, Secret, Old Spice), Estee Lauder (Clinique, MAC, Prescriptives), Avon, and Unilever (Dove, Ponds, St. Ives, Axe) follow J&J’s lead and commit getting carcinogens and other toxic chemicals out of their products.
Businesses are working together to support the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2013 (H.R. 1385) and we need your support. The Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act will phase out cancer-causing and other harmful chemicals from personal care products. It also recognizes the unique needs of small businesses and includes small businesses exemptions.
Key provisions of the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2013 include:
We need your help to ensure that Congress knows that protecting consumer and worker health is a priority for the safe cosmetics business community. Please take a few minutes to send a message to your Representative to let them know that the business community supports the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Product Act of 2013 (H.R. 1385), strong legislation that protects consumers and recognizes the needs of small businesses.
Please, take action now and tell Congress we need safer products and thriving small businesses!
No one should have to spend every working day in a toxic environment, and this week dozens of salon workers from across the country are descending on Washington, DC, sharing their stories with lawmakers and demanding safer products and safer hair and nail salons--and they need your support! Stand with salon workers in demanding safer products for a safer workplace! Write to your member of Congress today!
While each of us is exposed daily to a cocktail of toxic chemicals when we use personal care products, salon workers are also exposed to highly toxic products as they work (like hair dyes and straighteners and nail glues and solvents) -- all day, every day. And, due to a labeling loophole, salon products aren’t required to list ingredients, which means workers (and their customers) can’t make informed decisions about what they’re using.
A growing body of scientific evidence indicates there is reason for concern regarding worker exposures to chemicals found in salon products. One recent study showed that nail salon workers have higher levels of dibutyl phthalate (DBP), a reproductive and developmental toxicant, than the general population.[i] Another study found that beauticians and hairdressers are likely to have significant exposure to solvents that are linked to birth defects.[ii] Other studies have found cosmetologists are at a higher risk for having spontaneous abortions and low birth weight babies.[iii],[iv]
Unfortunately, large multi-national cosmetics companies have banded together to work with the Personal Care Products Council to draft and introduce The Cosmetic Safety Amendments Act of 2012. This is a classic Trojan horse – it may sound like a step forward on the surface but unlike The Safe Cosmetics Act, it won’t make cosmetics safer, won’t protect beauty industry workers and has no special considerations for small businesses.
Please support salon workers, and all of us, and tell Congress we need safer products, safer workplaces and thriving small businesses!
California’s Department of Toxic Substances has revealed that a variety of nail polishes contain high levels of hazardous chemicals despite product labels claiming otherwise. These chemicals, dibutyl phthalate and toluene, have been linked to birth defects, asthma and other chronic health conditions.
Labels shouldn’t lie and whether you’re a nail salon worker or taking your daughter out for a mani-pedi, you should be able to trust that the products you’re using are safe.
This is yet another example of industry self-regulation gone wrong—tell Congress it’s time to fix our broken cosmetics laws now! Using the form below, write to Rep. Fred Upton, Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Joe Pitts, Chair of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, and ask them to create the strongest, most consumer-focused and health protective cosmetics legislation possible.
The FDA’s new study found lead in 400 lipsticks tested, with higher lead levels than ever reported in some of the most popular brands. The worst offender was L'Oreal USA, whose Maybelline Color Sensation and L’Oreal Color Riche lipsticks were #1 and #2 on the list. In fact, L'Oreal USA makes five of the 10 most contaminated brands in the FDA study.
It’s more important now than ever to call attention to this problem. A brand-new report for the US Centers for Disease Control states that there is no safe level of lead exposure for children. That means we must protect women from lead exposure, since lead builds up in the body over time and easily crosses the placenta, where it can interfere with normal development of a fetus and cause irreversible health effects.
Take action now: Tell L’Oreal the company owes women a huge apology and a commitment to make lipstick without lead.
The manufacturers of Brazilian Blowout must stop deceiving salons about the danger of their products, thanks to a settlement with the California Attorney General. The lawsuit was filed under the authority of the law we helped pass in 2005, the California Safe Cosmetics Act – so this is a true victory for safe cosmetics advocacy! Now, Brazilian Blowout products will carry warning stickers and salons will finally get accurate information about the health risks of using them. But, these dangerous products are still on the shelves, and salon workers and their customers are still being exposed every day to a known human carcinogen.
We need your help today to protect salon workers and women who get their hair straightened from these harmful toxic exposures! Please join us in asking the FDA to follow through on its August 2011 warning to Brazilian Blowout, which stated that the products are “adulterated” and "misbranded" and therefore subject to seizure. Current law doesn’t give the FDA much power, but it does give them the authority to seize cosmetic products that are unsafe or injurious to users.
Brazilian Blowout products have been banned in many countries, and now it’s time for FDA to get these dangerous products off American shelves, too. Just personalize the message below and we'll deliver it to Michael W. Roosevelt, Acting Director of the FDA's Office of Compliance for the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
Did you hear? In a letter to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Johnson & Johnson laid out commitments and timelines for the company’s plans to reformulate all of its baby products worldwide to remove cancer-causing chemicals.
This is a huge victory for the Campaign and for babies everywhere! The letter was prompted by the Campaign’s Nov. 1 report – and by an influx of emails from supporters like you- revealing that Johnson’s Baby Shampoo still contains formaldehyde-releasing chemicals in the U.S., Canada, and China, even though formaldehyde-free versions of the product are available in several other countries.
According to the letter, signed by Johnson & Johnson will:
• Remove quaternium-15 and other formaldehyde-releasing preservatives from all of its baby products worldwide within two years.
• Reduce 1,4-dioxane in all of its baby products to less than 4 parts per million (ppm). Long term, the company indicated it will replace the chemical process, called ethoxylation, that results in 1,4-dioxane contamination.
• The company has already removed phthalates—a reproductive toxin—from all its baby products worldwide, including fragrance.
The commitment to remove chemicals of concern does not apply to Johnson & Johnson’s adult products such as those in the Aveeno or Neutrogena lines.
Will you write to J&J to thank them for this big step? Ask them to move forward with this as quickly as possible, and to extend the safety commitment to all of their personal care products – including those for adults. Your letter is even more effective if you personalize it.
Surely you noticed that October is breast cancer awareness month; you can't miss the deluge of pink ribbons everywhere, including the cosmetics aisle.
Case in point: Procter & Gamble's cosmetics division is making a big deal this month about supporting early breast cancer detection, an important issue. But we think P&G should start with prevention by promising to stop using chemicals linked to cancer in its products.
According to the Skin Deep database, P&G still uses parabens – in particular, methylparaben – in hundreds of its Cover Girl, Max Factor, Infusium and other products.
Parabens are compounds widely used as antimicrobial preservatives in cosmetics products. They're also estrogen mimickers, and have been found in breast tumors.
A new study found that methylparaben can not only cause healthy breast cells to behave like cancer cells, but also interfere with the effectiveness of tamoxifen, an important breast cancer drug.
Use the form below to tell P&G that if the company really wants to do something about breast cancer, it should stop using methylparaben and other chemicals linked to cancer or hormone disruption in any of its products.
The Brazilian Blowout blowup continues!
Product tests have revealed extremely high levels of formaldehyde, a cancer-causing chemical, in some Brazilian Blowout products (even those labeled “formaldehyde-free”), but the company still insists its products are safe. (All the salon workers and clients who've reported nose bleeds, dizziness, rashes and hair loss might beg to differ.)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has finally told Brazilian Blowout it needs to clean up its act. In a letter to Brazilian Blowout dated August 22, 2011, the FDA noted that the products are “adulterated” and "misbranded." Yet salons continue to use the products and unsuspecting hair stylists and customers continue to be exposed to the formaldehyde in them.
We clearly need more protection than a warning letter can offer!
Please join us in asking the FDA to protect salon workers and customers from this unnecessary toxic exposure by issuing a voluntary recall! (Unfortunately, FDA doesn’t have the power to order a mandatory recall due to our outdated cosmetics laws.) Just personalize the message below; we'll deliver it to Dr. Linda Katz, Director for the FDA's Office of Cosmetics and Colors.
"Citrus Blueberry Swirl." "Tangelo Orange Twist." "Sugar Lemon Fizz."
Welcome to a teenager's bathroom.
Bath & Body Works is offering its customers, many of whom are teenage girls, antibacterial soaps with summertime scents…and triclosan, a toxic antimicrobial chemical that accumulates in our bodies and in lakes, rivers and wildlife. This commonly used pesticide is also linked to the rise of "superbugs" – antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Umm, gross.
To add insult to injury, triclosan isn't any more effective than regular soap and water.
That's why we're telling Bath & Body Works, which uses triclosan in an array of its body care products (the tagline: "spread love, not germs"), to phase out triclosan and protect its customers from exposure to toxic chemicals.
Major companies, like Colgate Palmolive and Johnson & Johnson, have recently agreed to eliminate triclosan from some of their products. Surely Bath & Body Works can stop its use of triclosan, too.
Use our sample letter below to tell Bath & Body Works' CEO: "Stop using toxic triclosan in your products." Your letter is even more meaningful if you personalize it.
Greenwashing: when a company makes "green" claims to appeal to consumers even though the product, company or ingredients is not truly healthy or sustainable. But they can't fool us!
Some products from Aveeno (owned by Johnson & Johnson) contain mystery "fragrance" ingredients and chemicals linked to cancer (1), reproductive and organ toxicity (2).
Herbal Essences (owned by Procter & Gamble) claims to be "inspired by nature," but the line contains a dozen synthetic chemicals, including sodium laureth sulfate, diazolidinyl urea, fragrance and others linked to health problems (3).
St. Ives (owned by Alberto-Culver) now touts its "100% NATURAL MOISTURIZERS" and "natural ingredient glossary," but uses synthetic surfactants, preservatives and fragrance (4). St. Ives says it no longer uses parabens and phthalates, which is a great first step but not 100%.
Tell these greenwashers that we want cosmetics that are really safe, not just marketing!
(Tip: You can add your personal comments in the blank box below the address area.)
It's in all these consumer products, yet:
• It disrupts hormones and may affect fetal growth and development;
• It's been found in our bodies and in breast milk;
• Mounting evidence links it to the rise of "superbugs" – antibiotic-resistant bacteria;
• It doesn't break down easily in the environment, so it builds up in lakes, rivers and other water sources, where it's toxic to aquatic life; and
• Studies show that triclosan is no more effective at preventing illness or removing germs than soap and water – even the FDA found no evidence that antibacterial washes containing triclosan were superior.
The color pink is now synonymous with "breast cancer awareness," and cosmetics companies like Estee Lauder trumpet their commitment to breast cancer awareness through promotions and pink ribbons galore. When one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, awareness about early detection and treatment options are important. But what we need most of all is to get chemicals linked to cancer out of products we use every day – including cosmetics.
Some examples: the Estee Lauder brands Bumble & Bumble, Aveda and Clinique contain chemicals that are likely to be contaminated with the carcinogens 1,4-dioxane or formaldehyde; Bobbi Brown Blush contains silica and titanium dioxide (which poses a risk of cancer from inhalation); and several Estee-owned brands still use parabens, which can act like estrogen in the body. Higher estrogen exposures throughout a woman’s life can increase her risk of breast cancer, according to the latest scientific evidence.
Even the President’s Cancer Panel agreed in its May 2010 report that many cancers are linked to environmental exposures, including hormone disruptors in common products like cosmetics.
We know that Estee Lauder can make safer cosmetic products because their Origins and Aveda brands have already phased out some hazardous ingredients. Yet Estee Lauder lobbied against legislation in California that requires cosmetics companies to notify the state when they use chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects – while simultaneously launching Pink Ribbon campaigns to “raise awareness” about breast cancer.
Join us in asking Estee Lauder to stop buying carcinogens and hormone disruptors from chemical companies in the first place.
What are all those chemicals in your lipstick? Your perfume? Your child's shampoo? And what do they have to do with asthma, cancer and learning disabilities? Watch the below video & take action!
*Urge your representative in Congress to support the Safe Cosmetics Act:
There's nothing sexy about toxic chemicals in perfume and cologne, but that's exactly what the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found when we analyzed the ingredients – labeled and secret – of 17 popular fragrances for our report, "Not So Sexy." Among the products we tested were Britney Spears Curious, Glow by JLO, Halle by Halle Berry and Hannah Montana Secret Celebrity. Some of the chemicals we found are associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions, and many have not been assessed for safety in personal care products.
We're asking Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Halle Berry and Miley Cyrus to stand up for our health and urge their fragrance manufacturers to remove chemicals linked to cancer, reproductive harm and allergies from their fragrances. Please read and sign on to this letter, and then spread the word!
Grab the tissue – have you seen Procter & Gamble’s “Thanks Mom” advertisements? We agree that moms make the world go ‘round and they deserve thanks, so we have an idea for P&G this Mother’s Day: Promise to eliminate the cancer-causing chemical 1,4-dioxane from all P&G products. Do it for Mom!
We can hear the voiceover now…
Because you owe it to moms to make products as safe as they can be. Because you have it in your power to protect children and adults, waterways and wildlife from unnecessary toxic chemicals.
P&G took a small and positive step in March 2010 when it agreed to reformulate 18 popular Herbal Essences shampoos to reduce the amount of 1,4-dioxane to less than 10 parts per million (ppm) – the level above which legal action has been taken under California's toxics law – by July 2010. That’s a great start, but the company can certainly do better.
According to recent products tests,
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says that 1,4-dioxane, even in trace amounts, is cause for concern – so why is the chemical found in so many consumer products?
Well, the good news is, it doesn’t have to be! Many products tested (and even some P&G brands) contained no detectable levels of 1,4-dioxane at all. And, we know that it can be stripped from products before they hit store shelves. So no excuses, really. Just get rid of it.
This Mother’s Day, as a tribute to the health of all beings, please ask Procter & Gamble to eliminate 1,4-dioxane from all its products, and encourage the company to take another step forward and make all of its brands
Perhaps you’ve seen (or yourself own) an antibacterial product – a facewash, deodorant or even a keychain? Have you ever wondered about the effectiveness of these products, or their impact on people, plants and animals?
Two years ago, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics supporters sent Walmart thousands of e-mails asking the retail giant to help stem the demand for products that contain triclosan, an antimicrobial chemical common in personal care products and cleaning products. (A 2001 study published in the American Journal of Infection Control found triclosan in 76 percent of liquid soaps and 29 percent of bar soaps on the market.)
Well, it's time to remind Walmart that it *still* has the mega-retailer power to address hazardous chemicals in consumer products. Use our quick form below to ask Walmart to demand triclosan-free merchandise from its suppliers.
(1) It's bad for health.
Research shows that triclosan disrupts hormones, builds up in body fat and may interfere with other important hormonal and cell signals. Exposure to hormone-disruptors, especially at critical windows of development, can lead to early puberty, serious reproductive issues and breast cancer. Triclosan's hormone-disrupting behavior could also be responsible for harming aquatic wildlife, since this chemical is washed into our waterways.
(2) It's in our bodies, in soil and in wildlife.
Like so many other chemicals in household items, triclosan (and the similar chemical triclocarban) isn’t staying put: it has been found in our bodies  and in the breast milk of women using personal care products that contain the chemical. Triclosan has been found in water downstream from wastewater treatment facilities (which means it isn’t being totally removed from wastewater) and in the sludge applied to fields as a fertilizer. It has also been found in dolphins, earthworms and frogs, and it may be disrupting their development. Triclosan may also break down into other harmful chemicals like dioxins.
(3) It isn’t more effective than regular soap, but it could lead to bacteria resistance.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s journal Emerging Infectious Diseases found no evidence that antibacterial soap is more beneficial than good old soap and water in reducing bacteria or the rate of disease. Triclosan does not destroy viruses, which cause colds and the flu. Scientists are concerned, however, that the widespread use of triclosan may lead to triclosan-resistant bacteria. In fact, the Canadian Medical Association has asked its federal government to ban it from consumer products and the American Medical Association has recommended avoiding antimicrobial agents because of resistance concerns.
(4) Pesticides probably shouldn’t be on our skin or in our mouths.
Triclosan is registered as a pesticide at the EPA, but it's probably in your hand soap and might be in your toothpaste because cosmetics companies aren't barred by the FDA from using ingredients linked to harm or that have never been assessed for adverse health effects. As our friend Rick Smith, author of Slow Death By Rubber Duck, said in the chapter, "Germophobia," “I’m no chemophobe. I’m downright chemophilic in some circumstances. What I object to are the chemicals like triclosan that aren’t necessary, are possibly dangerous, and are foisted on us every day without our knowledge or consent.”
We’d like to think that mama’s belly is a safe, non-toxic environment. Yet according to new research, pregnant women’s bodies are polluted with chemicals found in consumer products – including cosmetics.
In “Earliest Exposures,” our partners at Washington Toxics Coalition, Commonweal and the Toxic-Free Legacy Coalition report that chemicals that may disrupt development and hormonal systems were found in all nine of the pregnant women who participated in a recent biomonitoring study. We know that chemicals pass from mother to fetus in the womb, and even small amounts of toxic chemicals can have serious, long-lasting impacts on health.
One of the women in the study, Amy, was frustrated to find out that she had a chemical called DEP (a phthalate often found in cosmetics via “fragrance”) in her body while she was pregnant, despite her efforts to choose cosmetics carefully. But it would be impossible for Amy to know what she’s really putting on her body because gaping loopholes in federal law allow fragrance ingredients like DEP to be omitted from cosmetic ingredient labels.
And that brings us to a question we shouldn’t have to ask:
Congress, will you support our efforts to make sure women like Amy are protected from harmful chemicals in cosmetics?