Campaign for Safe Cosmetics  [Printer-friendly version]
March 28, 2006


[Rachel's introduction: More than 300 private manufacturers of
cosmetics and personal care products have signed a pledge to avoid
the use of certain chemicals, and to engage in a constant search for
safer alternatives.]

SAN FRANCISCO -- More than 300 cosmetics and body care products
companies have promised to replace ingredients linked to cancer, birth
defects, hormone disruption and other negative health effects with
safer alternatives.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics announced today that it had more
than tripled the number of companies who have signed the "Compact for
the Global Production of Safe Health and Beauty Products," in the
past year, signaling a shift toward healthier products in the
cosmetics industry. By signing the Compact, companies pledge to phase
out toxic ingredients within three years.

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 89 percent of ingredients
in products have not 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.

Compact signers include The Body Shop, Burt's Bees, Avalon Natural
Products, Aubrey Organics, Osea Skin Care, Jason Natural Products, Zia
Skin Care, EO Products and Kiss My Face. The names of all signing
companies can be found here.

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

"The surge in the number of companies signing the Compact shows that
corporate executives are listening to the voices of concerned
consumers," said Bryony Schwan, national campaigns director for
Women's Voices for the Earth, one of the founding members of the
Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. "Each new company that signs puts more
pressure on the major cosmetics manufacturers to get on board and
clean up their products too."

Despite repeated requests, multinational cosmetics companies such as
L'Oreal, Revlon, Estee Lauder, Gap, Avon, OPI and Proctor & Gamble
have refused to sign the Compact, known as the "Compact for the Global
Production of Safe Health and Beauty Products," which requires that
manufacturers meet several criteria, including:

-- Meeting new 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.

Contrary to what many consumers may believe, the FDA 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 EU has led the charge for safer cosmetics. European Union
Directive 76/768/EEC, which became law in 25 European countries on
October 1, 2004, requires products to be free of chemicals that are
known or strongly suspected of causing cancer, genetic mutation or
birth defects.

"Companies that market themselves with images of health and beauty
should not be selling us products with ingredients like formaldehyde,
coal tar, lead acetate, phthalates, parabens and toluene, which pose
cancer risks and raise other health concerns," Schwann said.

# # #

Founding members of The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics include:

Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow

Breast Cancer Fund


Friends of the Earth

Women's Voices for the Earth

Environmental Working Group

National Black Environmental Justice Network

National Environmental Trust.

For more information and background on the campaign, and a link to the
Skin Deep database, visit

Lisa Archer
Campaigns Coordinator
Health and Environment Program
Friends of the Earth-US

Genevieve Roja
Breast Cancer Fund
(415) 346-8223 x31

Stacy Malkan
Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
(510) 848-5343 x105

Dick Bell
Friends of the Earth