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Help the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Get More Companies to Follow in J&J’s Footsteps

by Britta Aragon Cinco Vidas blog
October 8th, 2012

It was only a couple months ago that I told Cinco Vidas readers about the great news—that Johnson & Johnson plans to get rid of potentially toxic ingredients like formaldehyde, 1,4-dioxane, phthalates, parabens, several fragrance ingredients, and triclosan from all personal care products by the end of 2015.

Now, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, with the help of the Breast Cancer Fund, is trying to capitalize on the momentum J&J started by getting other companies to make a similar pledge. Here are the details and how you can help!

J&J Responded to Industry Pressure

The Campaign is targeting Avon, Estée Lauder, L’Oréal, Proctor & Gamble, and Unilever specifically, as these are huge manufacturers of cosmetics and personal care products. According to the Campaign’s co-founder Lisa Archer, “We are calling on these cosmetic giants to meet or beat J&J’s commitments and signal they take consumer safety as seriously as their competitor.”

The group can take some credit for the progress made so far, as in November 2011, they issued a public complaint stating that J&J had removed 1,4-dioxane and quaternium-15 from products in many European, Asian, and African countries, but not in the U.S. or Canada. In a responding letter, J&J CEO Bill Weldon stated the company planned to eliminate formaldehyde-releasing preservatives from hundreds of its baby products in the next two years, and that it was working to reduce traces of 1,4-dioxane in products by finding an alternative ingredient.

J&J manufacturers brands like Listerine, Neutrogena, and Aveeno.

Why Has it Taken So Long?

Why is it taking so long to get large companies to formulate safer products? According to Stacy Malkan, co-founder of the Campaign, manufacturers use the argument that the ingredients in question are used at very small levels, and thus won’t hurt us. Studies have shown that isn’t the case, however, particularly with phthalates, which have been connected with diabetes recently, as well as developmental problems, infertility, and thyroid problems. These issues have been shown to be factors even though very small amounts of phthalates are used in individual personal care products.

Fortunately, as more studies are published indicating a link between these ingredients and health issues, more companies are beginning to listen to consumer demand. In fact, according to statistics, the trend is toward organic and herbal products, as well as eco-friendly practices.

How You Can Help

The Campaign is asking for everyone to help them put the pressure on these other companies. According to their website, “The Campaign is challenging the other global cosmetics giants to step up to the plate and meet or beat J&J’s commitments.”

They’re asking all concerned citizens to take five minutes to visit their website and send a pre-written e-mail message to these companies. If you want to pitch in, visit their website now!