SAN
FRANCISCO-More than 300 cosmetics and body care products companies have
promised to replace ingredients linked to cancer, birth defects,
hormone disruption and other negative health effects with safer
alternatives.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics announced
today that it had more than tripled the number of companies who have
signed the "Compact for the Global Production of Safe Health and Beauty
Products," in the past year, signaling a shift toward healthier
products in the cosmetics industry. By signing the Compact, companies
pledge to phase out toxic ingredients within three years.

Compact signers include The Body Shop,
Burt’s Bees, Avalon Natural Products, Aubrey Organics, Osea Skin Care,
Jason Natural Products, Zia Skin Care, EO Products and Kiss My Face.
The names of all signing companies can be found by visiting www.safecosmetics.org/companies/signers.cfm.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a
coalition of U.S.-based health and environmental groups working to
protect cosmetics consumers from toxic chemicals and hold companies
accountable for the safety of their products.

"The surge in the number of companies
signing the Compact shows that corporate executives are listening to
the voices of concerned consumers," said Bryony Schwan, national
campaigns director for Women’s Voices for the Earth, one of the
founding members of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. "Each new company
that signs puts more pressure on the major cosmetics manufacturers to
get on board and clean up their products too."

Despite repeated requests, multinational
cosmetics companies such as L’Oréal, Revlon, Estée Lauder, Gap, Avon,
OPI and Proctor & Gamble have refused to sign the Compact, known as
the "Compact for the Global Production of Safe Health and Beauty
Products," which requires that manufacturers meet several criteria,
including:

  • Meeting new EU standards banning chemicals linked to cancer and
    birth defects globally;Conducting an inventory of all ingredients to
    determine whether they use chemicals that pose health hazards including
    cancer, hormone disruption, genetic mutation, reproductive toxicity,
    developmental harm and neurotoxicity;
  • Implementing substitution plans that replace chemicals of concern with safer alternatives; and
  • Reporting on their progress in meeting these goals to the public.

Contrary to what many consumers may
believe, the FDA does not review or regulate cosmetics products or
ingredients for safety before they are sold to the public and has no
legal authority to require safety assessments of cosmetics.

The EU has led the charge for safer
cosmetics. European Union Directive 76/768/EEC, which became law in 25
European countries on October 1, 2004, requires products to be free of
chemicals that are known or strongly suspected of causing cancer,
genetic mutation or birth defects.

"Companies that market themselves with
images of health and beauty should not be selling us products with
ingredients like formaldehyde, coal tar, lead acetate, phthalates,
parabens and toluene, which pose cancer risks and raise other health
concerns," Schwann said.

Women and girls use an average of 12
personal care products daily, according to a 2004 survey conducted by
the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. One out of every 100 personal care
products on the market contains known or probable carcinogens and 89
percent of ingredients in products have not been assessed for safety,
according to Skin Deep, an online, brand-by-brand safety guide that
contains in-depth information on more than 14,000 products and their
ingredients by the Environmental Working Group.

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Founding
members of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics include: Alliance for a
Healthy Tomorrow, Breast Cancer Fund, Clean Water Fund, Commonweal,
Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, Massachusetts Breast
Cancer Coalition, National Black Environmental Justice Network,
National Environmental Trust and Women’s Voices for the Earth.

For more information and background on the campaign, see www.SafeCosmetics.org.