Beauty industry getting a make-over: Walmart, Procter & Gamble move to eliminate toxic chemicals from products (9/13/13)

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After ten years of fighting for safer makeup, shampoos, and lotions, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics scored two important victories this week when Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, and Procter & Gamble (P&G), the largest consumer goods maker in the country, announced they were taking steps to reduce the toxic chemicals found on store shelves and in everyday products.

On Thursday, Walmart announced it was committed to banning as many as 10 toxic chemicals from products sold in its stores, including national and store-brand cosmetics, personal and beauty products, and household cleaners.

Last week it was reported that P&G decided to eliminate the toxic chemicals triclosan and DEP, an ingredient found in fragrances, from all its products globally by 2014. One of the chemicals that Walmart plans to ban is also expected to be triclosan, found in everything from toothpaste to hand sanitizer to moisturizers. Both chemicals have been targeted for removal by the Campaign because of their links to breast cancer and reproductive harm.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics credits adoption of these and a growing number of other “safe cosmetics” chemical policies by retailers and manufacturers to a vocal and growing public demand that everyday products like make-up, shampoo, lotions, and sunscreen be free of chemicals that harm human health. Over the last decade, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released groundbreaking reports that revealed lead in lipstick, heavy metals in kid’s face paint,toxic formaldehyde in baby shampoo, and hormone-disrupting chemicals in fragrances, casting a spotlight on the breadth of cosmetics and personal care products containing chemicals linked to adverse health effects. In response, a majority of consumers have been voting with their pocketbooks and choosing to support safer products made without toxic chemicals.

Janet Nudelman, director of program and policy for the Breast Cancer Fund and co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, said:

“The message that tens of thousands of consumers have been sending for the past decade is finally getting through: toxic chemicals don’t belong in the personal care products we use every day. It’s so heartening to see our years of hard work paying off. There are two things I’d like to say to Walmart and P&G: Congratulations for this important first step in the right direction. But please don’t wait another 10 years to finish the job – there’s lots more to do to ensure that all of your cosmetics and personal care products are safe for everyone.”

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