Harlem’s WE ACT Supports The Safe Cosmetics And Personal Care Products Act Of 2019

Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced a landmark bill today—the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2019—the only federal cosmetic safety legislation that would immediately ban more than a dozen of the worst toxic chemicals.

The chemicals from cosmetics, fund research into safer alternatives, address the over-exposure of communities of color to toxic chemicals, require full fragrance ingredient disclosure, and ban most animal testing.

The $84 billion cosmetics industry can and does use toxic chemicals linked to serious health harm in the beauty and personal care products we bring into our homes and workplaces daily. The average American uses roughly 12 personal care products a day, resulting in exposure to roughly 168 unique chemicals. These chemical exposures have been linked to cancer, infertility, miscarriage, poor infant and maternal health outcomes, birth defects, learning disabilities, obesity, asthma, and many other serious health concerns.

It’s been over 80 years since Congress last enacted federal cosmetic safety legislation. With no state or federal oversight of the safety of these ingredients, consumers and workers are facing an unacceptable buyer beware situation when they shop for beauty or personal care products.

The Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2019 is the only federal bill that holds cosmetic companies accountable for the safety of the ingredients in their products; requires supply chain transparency and industry sharing of safety data to help level the playing field for small, clean cosmetic companies; closes the federal labeling loophole that allows secret – often toxic fragrance chemicals – to hide in cosmetic products; bans most animal testing; and tackles the profuse exposure to toxic chemicals experienced by communities of color and professional salon workers.

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“I am proud to introduce the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2019 today with support from over 50 of the nation’s leading clean cosmetics companies and most respected NGOs representing women’s health, environmental health and justice, occupational health, and children’s health,” said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). “I first introduced this legislation in the 111th Congress, and have remained committed to passing a progressive, robust regulatory framework for cosmetics and personal care products. My bill will provide cosmetics safety that consumers and workers want and deserve; address the over-exposure to toxic chemicals that communities of color and professional salon workers experience every day; and hold companies accountable for the safety of the ingredients in their products. We should restore consumer confidence in the safety of beauty and personal care products by making safe cosmetics the new normal.”

“We consider the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act to be the ‘gold standard’ of cosmetic safety,” said Janet Nudelman, Director of BCPP’s Program and Policy and its Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. “Rep. Schakowsky has championed the safe cosmetics issue for over a decade, and we applaud her for introducing the most comprehensive, the boldest and the most consumer-facing bill in the crowded federal cosmetic safety legislative landscape. The Safe Cosmetics Act dismantles the self-regulated $84B cosmetic and $70B fragrance industries which have created a buyer beware situation for consumers and gives the FDA the statutory power and resources it needs to more strictly regulate these industries. Her bill puts consumer and worker health first, by prioritizing the health of vulnerable populations like kids, pregnant women, workers and communities of color and aggressively phasing out the worst of the worst cancer-causing, hormone-disrupting and other toxic chemicals from beauty and personal care products.”

“We applaud Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky’s commitment to bring the Food and Drug Administration’s guidance for the beauty and personal care market into the 21st century with the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act,” said Kerene N. Tayloe, Esq., Director of Federal Legislative Affairs at WE ACT for Environmental Justice. “We support her effort to hold the FDA accountable to ensure that millions of women and men, particularly those of color, are protected from unsafe products and toxic work environments that oftentimes lead to increased risk for cancers and other endocrine-disrupting ailments.”

“Better regulation of beauty and personal care products is not only urgently needed in our homes, it’s necessary for safer workspaces,” said Amber Garcia, Executive Director for Women’s Voices for the Earth. “Salon professionals repeatedly handle solvents, polishes, straighteners, dyes and other beauty care products containing known carcinogens like formaldehyde, or toluene, a neurological and a developmental toxicant. No one should have to sacrifice their health for their paycheck, and the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act will help ensure products are safer for both salon workers and their clients.”

“This bill is a great example of updated regulations needed by industry. Personal care product companies want to provide safer products but are hampered by 80-year-old regulations,” said Jeffrey Hollender, CEO of the American Sustainable Business Council, which has a member network representing over 250,000 businesses. “This bill clarifying rules for known toxic chemicals will push bad actors to up their game and help responsible companies invest more in the safe alternatives that consumers are demanding.”

Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP) is the leading national science-based, policy and advocacy organization focused on preventing breast cancer by eliminating our exposure to toxic chemicals and radiation. Through scientific translation, education, legislative advocacy and corporate accountability campaigns, BCPP occupies a unique niche at the nexus of environmental health, women’s health and breast cancer prevention. www.bcpp.org

Harlem’s WE ACT for Environmental Justice is a Northern Manhattan membership-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low-income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices. WE ACT has offices in New York and Washington, D.C. www.weact.org

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Founded in 1995, Women’s Voices for the Earth is a national environmental health organization that works to amplify women’s voices to eliminate toxic chemicals that harm our health and communities. www.womensvoices.org

The American Sustainable Business Council advocates for policy change and informs business owners, policymakers and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant, sustainable economy. Through its national member network it represents more than 250,000 businesses in a wide range of industries. www.asbcouncil.org via source

Are you interested in learning more about WE ACT work to enhance understanding of consumer product toxicity and why this is an environmental justice issue? If so, Kerene and Lubna are available to talk about Beauty Inside Out – our campaign to educate communities of color on how to avoid toxic chemicals in beauty and personal care products and where to find safer alternatives. Please contact Dana Johnson at 202-548-4585 or 773-495-1677 to schedule.

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