Today Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., introduced the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010, which overhauls the law that allows chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, or other illnesses in the products we use on our bodies every day.
"Harmful chemicals have no place in the products we put on our bodies or on our children's bodies," said Rep. Schakowsky. "Our cosmetics laws are woefully out of date—manufacturers aren't even required to disclose all their ingredients on labels, leaving Americans unknowingly exposed to harmful mystery ingredients. This bill will finally protect those consumers."
The legislation includes a phase-out of ingredients linked to cancer and birth defects, full ingredient disclosure, and help for small businesses to meet new regulations.
Americans use an average of 10 personal care products each day, resulting in exposure to about 126 chemicals. Personal care products add to our daily chemical exposures from air, water, food and other consumer products.
"The cosmetics industry says the amounts of potentially toxic chemicals in their products are so small that they carry no risk, but we know that for some chemicals small doses can have big effects," said Maryann Donovan, Ph.D., an expert on environmental exposures and biological effects from the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. "We need to better understand the short- and long-term health effects resulting from small doses of toxic chemicals, repeated daily exposures, exposures during fetal or infant development, and exposures to mixtures of chemicals in personal care products."
"When there are cancer-causing chemicals in baby shampoo and mercury in skin cream, you know the system is broken," said Janet Nudelman of the Breast Cancer Fund and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. "The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 recognizes that consumers have a right to safe personal care products, that companies have a responsibility to understand the health effects of the chemicals in their products, and that we need government to help us get there."