29 July 2010

Why I Oppose the Safe Cosmetics Act

We, of course, want to use safe cosmetics.  I can agree that we want to avoid certain things:

  • Deodorant that makes your arms stick straight out to your sides.
  • Luxurious night cream that turns your face green with orange and purple spots.
  • Eye cream that makes them look buggy.
  • Shampoo for fine, thin hair that ends up making your hair fine and thin.
So why am I so opposed to the Safe Cosmetics Act (SCA), whose very aim is to ensure cosmetics are safe for consumers?  Short answer...  The SCA won't necessarily make cosmetics safer for consumers and it'd put me out of business.  Longer answer...

  • The SCA proposes to ban all ingredients that are in any way carcinogenic, without regard to dosage.  It sort of reminds me of the health warning on saccharine:  "This product has been known to cause cancer in laboratory animals."  Well, yeah, if you inject 6 packets of the stuff straight into a rat's blood stream, chances are, the rat will develop some ill effects, but how many people do that to themselves?  No one, of course; that'd just be stupid.  Same with the SCA.  An essential oil may contain one component that makes up 0.5% of that oil, and that component may have carcinogenic effects in 0.03% of the population, so therefore, the SCA would propose to ban that essential oil completely. 
  • The SCA is calling for cosmetic manufacturers to list every single component that would be in every single ingredient... well, except for those which can't be detected.  With the current technology, we can find trace components as small as ppb (parts per billion), virtually leaving nothing undetectable!  I swiped the following example from Essential Wholesale's blog, at Essential U, listing just the components in water:
Aqua (lead, acrylamine, alachlor, alpha/photon emitters, antimony, asbestos, arsenic, atrazine, barium, benzene, benzo(a)pyrene, beta photon emitters, beryllium, bromated, cadmium, carbofuran, carbon tetrachloride, chloramines, chlordane, chlorine, chlorine dioxide, chlorite, chlorobenzene, chromium, copper, cyanide, 2,4-D, dalapon, o-Dichlorobenzene, p-Dichlorobenzene, 1,1-Dichloroethylene, cis-1,2-Dichloroethylene, trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene, Di(2-ethylhexyl) adipate, dinoseb, diquat, endothall, endrin, ethylbenzene, fluoride, glyphosate, hexachlorocyclopentadiene…mercury….radium….uranium, vinyl chloride, xylenes.)
Now, that's just all that's in water, nevermind the 5-50 other ingredients (with all their components) that might also be in the product.  Determining these trace components will be time-consuming and expensive for the small manufacturer.
  • The SCA is calling for the testing of all product formulas.  In the course of the past 8 years I have been in business, I've created seven different lotion formulas alone (not including the total of dozens of variations on my other products' formulas).  At around $35.00 each to test, that gets to be very expensive, plus it's time consuming, with an average of two weeks' wait to get results.
  • The SCA calls for additional testing to determine if there is any reaction between the product and anything with which it may have come into contact.  If my wholesaler has a lotion base that they've developed and had tested, then they store that lotion base in 1-gallon plastic jugs, they would then need to have that lotion retested to see if it in any way reacted with the plastic in which it's stored.  This, of course, costs my supplier money, costs that they then have to pass on to me, which I then have to pass on to my customers.  My customers don't like paying the higher prices (no worries, as I don't use bases, anyway), so they stop buying my products.  Therefore, I have to close up shop.
  • The passing of the SCA will put thousands of small business cosmetic manufacturers out of business.  Those higher prices that suppliers have to pay trickle down, all the way to the consumer.  Small businesses will close, putting people in every community out of work, making it that much more difficult for us to take care of our families.  During this recession when unemployment is so high and people are dying to work, it makes no sense to eliminate so many jobs needlessly.
The majority of cosmetic micro-industrialists practice current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs) as determined by the FDA.  We have our water-based products tested for safely and preservative efficacy, and we started making these superior products because we wanted to provide consumers with more natural, greener, American-made products, because we've used them and love them!  Probably all of us only test on two-legged animals (that's what friends and family are for), so we don't harm animals in our manufacturing, either.

What can you do to help us?  You can start by signing the petition we have going on to oppose the Safe Cosmetics Act.  We've gotten over 2,000 signatures in 48 hours!  How's that for positive reactions from people who want to preserve small business and maintain their right to buy artisan soaps and cosmetics?  Second, please go to Open Congress and register your opposition to the bill.  There's even a handy link there you can use to contact your representative to tell him or her that you oppose H.R. 5786, the Safe Cosmetics Act.  Third, spread the word.  If you're posting about this on Twitter, please use the hashtag #OpposeSCA.

For more information, go to http://www.opposesca.com/.  Thank you so much! :-)

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