Over the past several months, your bathroom has become the site of a major controversy. In fact, the controversy has been heating up for a while (Environmental Working Group's Cosmetic Safety Database dates back to 2004), but recently, stories of dangerous ingredients in common personal care products like soap, toothpaste and lipstick have become even more common in the media. They're even the subject of a bill in Congress, The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010. The inadequate regulation and dubious safety of cosmetics spurred Annie Leonard, famous for making The Story of Stuff, to come out with a new video last month, The Story of Cosmetics.
In fact, many chemicals used in cosmetics just aren't tested for safety in the first place. The FDA leaves safety to the industry, which in turn sets voluntary standards for cosmetics companies and tests less than 20 percent of ingredients used in cosmetics for safety. Since 1938, the U.S. has banned only eight ingredients out of the 12,000 used in personal care products. In contrast, the E.U. bans over 1,300. Full story...
The larger problem we are facing is that we have "tested" and deemed "safe" tens of thousands of chemicals on animals only to find that the many results are not accurate in humans. It's time to use human-relevant non-animal testing practices as outlined by the National Academy of Sciences report, "Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century: A Vision and a Strategy in 2007."ReplyDelete
The potential for chemical reform is quite exciting, but it should be done in a way that doesn’t sacrifice millions of animals (for toxicity testing) in the name of better protection for human health. We need Congress to mandate and create market incentives to use nonanimal methods and tests.