Tag: chemicals

Clean Beauty…or Dirty Business?

The “clean” beauty movement is picking up steam. Health-conscious consumers are paying more attention to ingredients applied to their bodies and are looking for products made without harmful chemicals. In response to the demand, some popular cosmetics companies are now offering so-called, “clean” beauty lines. Companies considering joining this trend should take into account the substantial legal risks.

A look at the food industry’s use of the adjectives like “natural”, “clean”, “simple,” and “wholesome” illustrates the kinds of risks the beauty industry may face. When consumers began paying more attention to ingredients, companies began marketing their products with these health driven adjectives. However, this led to a barrage of class action lawsuits for false advertising under state consumer protection laws as plaintiffs lawyers argued that the claims made on the front of the label did not match the ingredients on the back of the label.

The food industry started to use the word “clean” after the use of “natural” resulted in a barrage of consumer lawsuits. As it turned out, however, the alternative claim also resulted in consumer class action lawsuits. The theory behind these suits is that “clean” is just a synonym of “all-natural” and signifies to consumers the absence of any synthetic chemicals. Similarly, it is argued that “wholesome” and “simple” are misleading consumers as to the real nutritional value of food products. This is at best an idiosyncratic view, not backed by legitimate consumer evidence. However, merely making the allegation is sometimes sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss, where the court must consider whether “no reasonable consumer” could share the plaintiff’s alleged interpretation.

Adding to the complexity is the difficulty of placing a sufficiently prominent and clear explanation, or definition, for such adjectives in an unavoidable location where the plaintiff cannot reasonably allege she failed to notice it. Courts have sometimes held that consumers need not be expected to turn around the bottle or package to read textual information on the back label before purchase.

We have seen false advertising claims creeping into the skincare industry as well, and this, coupled with the history of the food industry, should put the beauty industry on notice of the legal risks. For example, just last month, a lawsuit was filed in California State Court against the makers of Coppertone sunscreen. Prescott, et al. v. Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Inc., et al., No. 5:20-cv-00102 (N.D. Cal. filed Jan. 3, 2020). The suit alleges that Coppertone deceived consumers by labeling certain sunscreens as “mineral-based” when in fact chemicals make up a significant portion of its active ingredients. The plaintiff’s theory is that the headline “mineral-based” claim suggests to consumers that the product protects skin from sun damage exclusively with minerals.

In the “all-or-nothing” world of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, any ingredient call-out or characterization creates legal peril by negative implication. If the label says “clean,” the product can contain no synthetic substances. If the label says “plant-based,” the product should not have any synthetic or animal components – even if trivial in amount. Plaintiffs are routinely sending products to labs for rote chromatographic analysis, and the tiniest detectable amounts of disfavored chemicals can trigger lawsuits. In California, the consumer protection laws include California’s Unfair Competition Law, False Advertising law, and the Consumer Remedies Act. Companies making sales in California also need to be mindful of Proposition 65 which requires warning labels on products that contain any enumerated chemicals identified by the State to cause cancer, birth defects, or reproductive harm.

Since there are no regulations mandating the definition of such descriptive terms on cosmetic labels, these definitions (e.g., “clean”) can vary from company to company. The beauty industry should heed caution when using “clean” beauty claims. In order to avoid consumer confusion— and ultimately litigation— companies should define “clean” in a way that they can, and do, meet, and that definition should be available at the point of sale.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

We at The Real Hair Truth were more than happy to endorse the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics on there recent cosmetics safety discussion draft bill. They had 120 organizations endorse the letter. Including The Real Hair Truth and Bravo to them for the well done job they constantly do for the consumers of this country!

Since 2004, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has used smarts and sass to pressure the cosmetics industry to make safer products.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics coalition, a project of Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (formerly the Breast Cancer Fund), works to protect the health of consumers, workers and the environment through public education and engagement, corporate accountability and sustainability campaigns and legislative advocacy designed to eliminate dangerous chemicals linked to adverse health impacts from cosmetics and personal care products.

The Campaign has educated millions of people about the problem of toxic chemicals in cosmetics, which has led to an increased demand for safer products in the marketplace. Now hundreds of cosmetic companies fully disclose ingredients and avoid the use of cancer-causing chemicals, reproductive toxicants and other unsafe chemicals, demonstrating these practices are not only possible, but profitable. Retailers, too, are becoming part of the solution by requiring the national brands they sell to eliminate chemicals of concern and practice a higher level of ingredient transparency.

There is no doubt that the multi-billion dollar cosmetics industry is safer now than before the Campaign was launched. But there’s still more work to do to get toxic chemicals out of the cosmetics we use each day. Bravo!!!!

Read More about there Bill!

15 March 2018 Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Public Comment on HELP Cmte Cos Safety Discussion Draft(1)

Are Your Favorite Retailers Taking Action on Toxics?

Taken from the website, Mind The Store.

In our second annual report card on toxic chemicals in consumer products, the Mind the Store Campaign found that one-third of 30 major U.S. retailers are leaders, but two-thirds are seriously lagging behind. Find out how the stores where you shop are (or are not) tackling toxic chemicals in everyday products. Click on any of the logos below to learn more about each company, read our report, and raise your voice as a consumer!

Ulta Beauty earned a grade of D-, scoring 18.5 out of 135 possible points, ranking it 20th out of 30 retailers evaluated. Ulta Beauty has started taking some actions to address toxic chemicals in the products it sells, but still has much room for improvement. The company earned points for making efforts in recent years to require the suppliers of its private label products to eliminate chemicals of high concern identified in a private list that goes beyond legal requirements as new products are added and existing products reformulated. This list includes prohibitions on parabens, formaldehyde releasing preservatives, BHA & BHT, alkylphenol ethoxylates, and toluene and xylene in nail products. Unfortunately, Ulta has made little of this information public, only sharing limited, non-quantified information with us for the purposes of this report. While it labels its reformulated products as “free from” specific chemicals, this information is not readily searchable on its website or displayed in store, making it difficult for consumers to identify safer products. Ulta does not appear to be taking action with suppliers outside of those producing its private label brands.

Opportunities for improvement: Ulta can make progress by making more information publicly available, setting public and quantifiable goals with clear timelines for reducing and eliminating chemicals of high concern, and starting to work with suppliers other than those of its private label goods to reduce chemicals of high concern. Ulta should also become a signatory to the Chemical Footprint Project and pilot it with key private label suppliers. Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration already requires disclosure of ingredients on cosmetic products, Ulta should go beyond compliance with this requirement by working to disclose the ingredients in fragrances and close other loopholes in the mandatory labeling requirements to demonstrate a greater commitment to transparency.

Illegal Cancer-Causing Chemicals Found in Nearly 100 Shampoo Brands! Oh My Lawd!

The Real Hair Truth

Cocamide Diethanolamine (cocamide DEA), a controversial ingredient found in body care items, has landed four personal care manufacturers with a lawsuit in California.

The Center for Environmental Health filed the suit after discovering the presence of cocamide DEA, the foam stabilizer and voluminous, in shampoos and soaps. In the state of California, Proposition 65 requires manufacturers to warn consumers over the risks of certain substances. Cocamide DEA is on that list because it is a suspected carcinogen. It was banned in the state last year after a study found it caused cancer in laboratory animals.

Some of the products that contain high levels of the illegal chemical are sold under well-known companies such as Colgate Palmolive, Paul Mitchell, and Prell. Lab tests also found the carcinogen in children’s products, such as a store brand bubble bath from Kmart, and a shampoo/conditioner from Babies R Us. Other store brand products that contain the carcinogen came from Trader Joe’s, Walmart, and Kohl’s.

Unfortunately, manufacturers can put any toxic chemical they want into shampoos because  the FDA allows all sorts of chemicals to be used in these products, including chemicals that are known carcinogens and that contribute to liver failure and nervous system disorders. How’s that for protecting public health?  NADA it won’t change? Get over it! I guess profit is more important to them than the health of their customers. After all, it’s safe to say that many of these CEOs and top executives have ties to Big Pharmaceutical stock, so the fact that their products make people sick is a real win-win for their bank accounts.

 

Retail Regulation In The Cosmetic Industry

real hair truth
The $71 billion personal care product industry in the United States is largely unregulated, and retailers are stepping up to fill the void.

When retailers adopt policies on the safety of the products they sell, it’s called retail regulation.

There is a rich history of retailers using their purchasing power to effect positive market change.
In 2008, when Walmart—the world’s largest retailer—agreed to stop selling baby bottles, sippy cups and sports water bottles made with BPA, it forced manufacturers to reformulate in order to keep selling to this retail giant.
More and more retailers are adopting store wide policies governing the safety of their beauty products, with Whole Foods leading the way by implementing a basic chemical safety screening for all its personal care products and adopting a restricted-substances list made up of more than 400 chemicals prohibited from products bearing its premium standards labels.
In 2008 CVS stepped up to the plate by adopting a store-wide policy prohibiting the use of certain
toxic chemicals in their store-brand baby products. Walgreen’s and Target followed suit in 2013 by
announcing they would develop and adopt comprehensive cosmetic safety policies to govern the
safety of the private-label and national brands they carry.
The following goals should guide retailers’ policies and practices to improve the safety of personal
care products sold in their stores:
Expand the sale of safer cosmetics and personal care products (products free of chemicals
linked to cancer, birth defects, developmental harm and other health concerns).
Adopt a list of chemicals that are banned from use in private-label and national brands sold
in their stores, and ensure that toxic chemicals are replaced with safer alternatives.
Reformulate private-label products to eliminate chemicals of concern.
Practice the highest level of transparency by sharing the company’s safe-cosmetics policy,
practices and progress on websites and in corporate responsibility reports.
Strive for continuous improvements in policies and practices by monitoring scientific
research regarding emerging chemicals of concern.
Federal Regulations
Major loopholes in federal law allow the cosmetics industry to put virtually any chemical into a
cosmetic or personal care product with no pre-market FDA safety testing or review, no monitoring
of health effects, and inadequate labeling requirements. Most of us assume the FDA regulates
these products just as it does food and drugs to assure safety. In fact, cosmetics are one of the least
regulated consumer products available to the public. To make matters worse, contaminants in a
finished cosmetic product that occur as by-products of the manufacturing process, by law, don’t
have to be listed on the product label. That means chemicals like PFOA can hide in a cosmetic or
personal care product without consumers knowing.
The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act (FFDCA) includes 112 pages of standards for food and
drugs, but just a single page for cosmetics. The cosmetics title of the FFDCA, which has not been
amended significantly since it was enacted more than 77 years ago, provides virtually no power to
perform even the most rudimentary functions to ensure product safety in an estimated $71 billion
cosmetic industry.
Fortunately, for the first time in 77 years, Congress could close the gaping holes in our outdated
federal law and give the FDA the statutory authority and resources it needs to effectively regulate
the safety of cosmetics and personal care products. Currently, Congress is considering two bills to
regulate cosmetics ingredients.
The Senate
On April 20, 2015, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the
Personal Care Products Safety Act of 2015, an important bill with the potential to give the cosmetics
industry a desperately needed makeover. Many strong provisions in the bill would advance the
FDA’s ability to protect consumers from unsafe chemicals in cosmetics and personal care products:
Requiring companies to register their facilities, products and ingredients with the FDA;
Closing labeling loopholes by requiring full ingredient disclosure for professional salon
products and web-based sales of cosmetic products; and
Directing the FDA to assess the safety of a minimum of five cosmetics chemicals a year.
However, the bill falls short of what is needed. Ideally, federal regulation would put in place a robust
safety standard and elevate the rigor of ingredient safety reviews by the FDA and manufacturers to
ensure that cosmetics and personal care products are as safe as possible