More than 500 cosmetics and body care product manufacturers have signed “The Compact for Safe Cosmetics,” a pledge to eliminate toxic ingredients from their products. The Compact is a project of The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, an international coalition of public health, labor, environmental, consumer, and women’s groups. Signatories have three years to find safe alternatives for chemicals that have been linked to cancer, birth defects, hormone disruption and other negative health effects.
The European Union has banned many known toxic components from personal-care products, but similar ingredients are still legal in the US. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not review cosmetics ingredients, relying instead on industry self-regulation. The Compact will require companies to inventory their products for chemicals that pose health hazards and to comply with EU standards.
Signatories so far include The Body Shop, Burt’s Bees, and Kiss My Face. Absent are the world’s largest cosmetics companies, such as L’Or’al, Revlon, Est’e Lauder, Gap, Avon, OPI, and Proctor & Gamble, who have refused to sign, according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics estimates that women and girls in the US use an average of 12 personal care products each day. Nail salon and cosmetology workers, who handle solvents, chemical solutions, and glues on a daily basis, may have even higher levels of toxic exposure.