I hope our welcome post left you inspired, but if you’re anything like me, you want to know the facts. Why should we care about what’s lurking in our lotions, shampoos, and nail polish?
The Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2013 was introduced in the House of Representatives on March 21, 2013 by Democrat Representatives Jan Schakowsky (Illinois) and Ed Markey (Massachusetts). The purpose of the act was to address the toxic chemicals that are present in various cosmetics and personal care products in the United States. The most recent legislation regulating the industry dated back to 1938, the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act (SCPCPA) sought to give the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate the appropriate industries to ensure that harmful chemicals are removed from products. The harmful chemicals include chemicals which are well known to be carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, or ecotoxins. It should be noted that many of the chemicals widely used in these products have not been thoroughly studied to make astute conclusions about their safety. (Fun Fact: An average of 12,000 new chemicals are registered daily! Most used in cosmetics are not tested for safety). It is both unsettling and encouraging to know that many of the chemicals in personal care products used in the United States have been outlawed in the European Union since 1976.
The following chemicals are restricted or prohibited for use in cosmetics: bithionol, mercury compounds, vinyl chloride, halogenated salicylanilides, zirconium complexes in aerosol cosmetics, chloroform, methylene chloride, chlorofluorocarbon propellants and hexachlorophene. (FDA)
Four short months after SCPCPA was introduced, the European Union strengthened their legislation. The EU Cosmetics Regulation includes 1,372 banned substances. The FDA has banned 11 chemicals, most of which would not be considered for cosmetics or personal care prducts. Many of the major corporations in cosmetics and personal care products are international conglomerates, many of which are based in the EU, so don’t for a second think they aren’t complying with the regulation–they just sell a different formula in the United States. Take a moment to really think about this and its implications. They can reformulate their products, but they don’t have to, therefore they don’t. The legislation the European Union has is an excellent template for the United States to follow, however, despite stalled action at the federal level, California is making strides at the state level.
California is very progressive when it comes to environmental regulations. If you have ever been, you may notice warning labels on products or within stores and restaurants. The California Safe Cosmetics Law has been allowing consumers to make informed decisions by mandating that products that contain certain chemicals (carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, etc.) be appropriately labeled. Despite the success of this legislation, federal law is still lagging as the SCPCPA has received significant resistance from cosmetic and personal care product manufacturers. As a consumer you hold the power and can rightfully request that companies remove harmful chemicals from their products or simply stop supporting them. It is really that simple.
This is why I decided to create Nature’s Pulchritude, because we as consumers have a right to make educated decisions that do not negatively impact our health or the environment, especially when there is limited legislation to do otherwise. If you choose to use products that may not have the best ingredients, you made a conscious decision and that is fine; but if you are using these products and the presence of toxic chemicals is unbeknownst to you–that is problematic. In the future, Nature’s Pulchritude will feature various posts about chemicals to avoid, as well as several posts to teach you how to read labels! Stay tuned and thank you for reading.
Were you aware of any of the information in this post? Does it make you reconsider some of the items you have purchased? Sound off in the comments. : )