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The Safe Cosmetics Act 2010 – my final thoughts because I have a show coming up and need to get on with my life

My last post led me into a debate that has become quite daunting and time-consuming for me ( I would rather write about the benefits of lavender oil). I don’t want to seem like I am against small businesses and crafters obviously – I live and breathe it – I just think that there are a handful of people who don’t want any legislation ever. One of the women leading the campaign against the Safe Cosmetics Act was opposed to it before she even read it. I don’t think it is an industry that should go without proper legislation. I side with many cancer researchers and environmentalists on this one – it will not only protect the consumer but it will protect our water systems and wildlife as well.

It seems like people are reading into specific lines of the bill and coming up with the worst case scenario. For instance, the labelling requirements have an ingredient definition of “any individual component of a botanical, petroleum-derived, animal-derived, or other ingredient that the Secretary determines be considered an ingredient”. My interpretation of this is that the Secretary may demand that certain problematic chemical constituents that occur in botanical ingredients such as linalool be labelled. This mirrors the European Union’s labelling. The interpretation by others is that this means every chemical constituent of every botanical ingredient will need to be on the label – so basically thousands for each product. I didn’t get that and it is obviously an absurd idea.

People are also claiming that all products will have to be tested for all sorts of things because of this section:

INITIAL SUBMISSION- Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010, manufacturers and distributors of cosmetics and ingredients shall submit to the Secretary (in an electronic format that the Secretary shall determine) all reasonably available information in the possession or control of the manufacturer or distributor that has not previously been submitted to the Secretary regarding the physical, chemical, and toxicological properties of single or multiple chemicals listed on the cosmetic labels under section 613, including–

  • `(i) functions and uses
  • `(ii) exposure and fate information;
  • `(iii) tests of finished cosmetics; and
  • `(iv) any other information used to substantiate the safety of such cosmetics or ingredients.

My interpretation of this is that if I already have any research or testing on my products or ingredients available, I will need to submit it. To me, this does not apply to a home-based soap maker. This would apply to the large companies that have huge amounts of research behind their products. The extreme interpretation of this is that everyone has to have all of their products tested. Again, I didn’t get that.

I don’t argue just to be right. If I get information that changes my mind, I will back down. This just hasn’t happened yet. Of course, I can be patronized with “did you get your lawyer to look at it?" As in, you are not qualified to make any judgements. My lawyer understands wording but does not understand formulation, cosmetic safety or the industry in general.

My final gripe with the backlash is the denial that any safety issues exist within the cosmetic industry. I read a post that justified lead in lipstick “there are higher levels in your tap water”. I don’t know where they live, but there is no lead in my tap water. They should get their pipes replaced.

Like most people, cancer has affected my life. I have had many healthy, thin, non-smoking, non-tanning friends and family (including children) suffer from this disease. I believe that environmental factors are to blame. I don’t think that unsafe cosmetics are solely responsible for cancer but they certainly add to toxic bioaccumulation in our bodies. The President’s Cancer Panel report for 2008-2009 (released in 2010) focused on reducing environmental cancer risks (which included cosmetics). The report stated that “the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated” and it made recommendations for more regulations. I couldn’t agree more.

I keep hearing “bad science” and “not based on scientific fact” when it comes to cosmetic safety concerns. I thought for fun I would dig up some studies from this year alone. You can decide if this is bad science.

Higher blood concentrations of synthetic musks in women above fifty years than in younger women; International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health Volume 213, Issue 2, March 2010, Pages 124-130 Synthetic musks (11) were found in women’s blood proving that this ingredient does, in fact, enter the blood stream.

Environmental Oestrogens and Breast Cancer: Evidence for Combined Involvement of Dietary, Household and Cosmetic Xenoestrogens; Anticancer Research March 1, 2010 vol. 30 no. 3 815-827 Exposure to complex mixtures of oestrogenic chemicals in consumer products is a feasible factor in breast cancer development

Combined exposures to anti-androgenic chemicals: steps towards cumulative risk assessment; International Journal of Andrology Volume 33 Issue 2, Pages 463 – 474 This research looked into the exposure of anti-androgens – phlalates, parabens, and some pesticides – and the irreversible de-masculinzing of male babies in utero. The analysis suggests limiting exposure to these chemicals in order to reduce the risk.