How beauty products got safer over the past decade


Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

Since 2004, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has used smarts and sass to pressure the cosmetics industry to make safer products. A project of the Breast Cancer Fund, the Campaign works to protect the health of consumers, workers and the environment through public education and engagement, corporate accountability and sustainability campaigns and legislative advocacy designed to eliminate dangerous chemicals linked to adverse health impacts from cosmetics and personal care products.

Over the past decade the Campaign has successfully shifted the market toward safer cosmetics. Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve accomplished together:

    1. 2005- California passes the Safe Cosmetics Act, co-sponsored by the Breast Cancer Fund, which requires cosmetics companies to publicly report their use of chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects.
    2. 2006- Nail polish manufacturers, including OPI, Orly and Sally Hansen remove three of the most toxic chemicals (the “toxic trio”) from nail polish – formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate – due to pressure from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
    3. 2007- The Campaign tests 33 lipsticks for lead and proves the urban myth true: lead is found in two-thirds of the lipsticks analyzed. Soon after, the FDA further confirms the extent of the problem by replicating the Campaign’s testing and finding lead in nearly all of the 400 lipsticks they analyze.
    4. 2008 – The Campaign’s Product testing report – “A Little Prettier” — reveals that leading manufacturers have stopped using DBP and DEHP – two phthalates banned in the EU but still used in U.S. cosmetics. This positive step for consumer health is due to activist pressure from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
    5. 2009- The Campaign releases “No More Toxic Tub: Getting Contaminants Out of Children’s Bath and Personal Care Products” with our allies in 13 states. We tested dozens of top-selling children’s bath products and found many to be contaminated with the cancer-causing chemicals formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane. More than 1,000 media outlets across the globe cover the story, which prompts international government reaction and a bill in the U.S. Senate
    6. 2009- The Campaign releases “Pretty Scary,” a Halloween report that reveals some children’s face paints are contaminated with lead, a powerful neurotoxin, as well as nickel, cobalt and chromium, which can cause lifelong skin sensitization and contact dermatitis.
    7. 2010- The Campaign’s “Not So Sexy” report reveals that top-selling fragrance products – including Glow by JLO, Calvin Klein Eternity and Old Spice body spray – contain hormone-disrupting chemicals and allergens, many of which are not listed on ingredient labels and most of which have not been assessed for safety by either the beauty industry or the FDA.
    8. 2009- The Safe Cosmetics Act, a bill supported by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, is first introduced in Congress. Written to eliminate chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems from the products women, men and children put on their bodies every day, the law also protects workers from toxic chemicals in cosmetics. With the help of the CSC, the bill is subsequently reintroduced in 2011 and 2013.
    9. 2011- The list of signers of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics grows to 1500, six short years after it is introduced by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. The Compact was a game-changing voluntary pledge to remove chemicals linked to adverse health impacts from personal care products and replace them with safe alternatives,
    10. 2011- 322 cosmetics companies meet the goals of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, the Campaign’s voluntary pledge to avoid chemicals banned by health agencies outside the U.S. and to fully disclose product ingredients – a pioneering practice in the cosmetics industry. 
    11. 2013 – The world’s largest retailers – Target and Walmart announce they will adopt store-wide policies to govern the safety of the beauty products they stock and sell.
    12.  2013- Due to public pressure and growing concerns about the safety of chemicals found in cosmetics and fragranced products, Procter & Gamble (P&G), the largest consumer products company in the world, announces they will eliminate the toxic chemicals triclosan and diethyl phthalate (DEP) from all its products globally by 2014.
    13. 2014- Johnson & Johnson (J&J) meets its pledge to the Campaign to globally reformulate its baby products in the 57 countries where it does business by the end of 2013 and are track to globally reformualte their adult products by the end of 2015. Their reformulation included removing 1,4-dioxane, formaldehyde donors and other chemicals of concern. The New York Times published a front-page story that discussed J&J’s road toward reformulation and the Campaign’s role in making it happen.
    14. 2014- Cosmetics giant Revlon overhauls its ingredients list, vowing to eliminate some of the most toxic cosmetic chemicals from its makeup, mascaras and shampoos. Growing consumer demand for cosmetics free of dangerous chemicals transformed Revlon from one of the industry’s laggards to a safe cosmetics leader. 2004-In response to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, L’Oreal and Revlon agree to globally reformulate their cosmetic products to meet the higher EU cosmetic safety standards shoring up the safety of their cosmetics sold in the United States and elsewhere around the world.
    15. 2015- Bi-partisan federal cosmetic safety legislation is introduced in the U.S. Senate that prompts a serious industry-NGO-congressional conversation about the need for meaningful cosmetic safety legislation. .

There is no doubt that the multi-billion dollar cosmetics industry is safer now than before the Campaign was launched. But there’s still more work to do to get toxic chemicals out of the cosmetics and personal care products we use each day.

Please consider a tax-deductible gift so that we continue to provide you the truth about toxic chemicals in cosmetics, opportunities to take action, and tips to help you find safer products for yourself and your family



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