21 July 2010

Washington Aiming to Demolish Small Business

I am normally very intentional about not tying any of my political views to my business, but us small business owners who make cosmetics could be in serious trouble, so I want to get the word out for you to support us and am going to try doing so in the most nonpartisan way possible.

What's the deal?  Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc. introduced to the House the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 this afternoon.  Concordantly, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CFSC), which is backed by some large tax-exempt organizations and some Hollywood celebrities (particularly those with their own cosmetic lines) has released a video today filled with misinformation, untruths and generalities in order to convince the trusting public that cosmetic manufacturers are filling cosmetics with cancer-causing ingredients.  This is simply not true.

A little history...  In 2008, the FDA Globalization Act 2008 was bandied before a congressional subcommittee.  This act, which addressed primarily food and drugs, arose after a spate of salmonella-tainted peanut butter issues and after lead was found in toys imported from overseas, namely China.  (The CPSC - Consumer Product Safety Commission - dealt with the toys issue in a way that put hundreds of artisan toymakers out of business.)  There was a small section - very small - in the Act that required cosmetic manufacturers to register with the FDA (for a fee) and further, required them to file every formula with the FDA.  The registration fees were as high as $12,000.00 annually, and having to file formulas would have resulted in more time dealing with paperwork than in actually driving a business.  (Even changing an oil for another oil would have necessitated filing the new formula documentation.)  When the draft of this Act was before this subcommittee, they had NO idea that there was this cottage cosmetic micro-industry that the passing of the FDAGA2008 would decimate.  Thanks to the tireless efforts of many in our industry, the draft was changed in 2009 and passed so as not to affect us.

In March of this year, Colorado representative Dianne Primavera led a move backed by Skin Deep to ban all ingredients with any toxicity at all from cosmetics, with no regard to dosing.  Olive oil, cocoa, and some essential oils all contain trace amounts of toxins.  What this proposed law would do was prohibit all cosmetic manufacturers in Colorado and all those shipping to Colorado from using any of these "toxic" ingredients.  Yet, the amounts of olive oil and cocoa that the citizens consume in food are far greater than what would be in your average cosmetic.

And now it's looking like we have still more legislation before us with its roots in fear-mongering and ignorance.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't one of the campaign "hot buttons" the last election "small business" with tax breaks for us small business owners and "promises" from Washington to help drive small business, recognizing our sizable contribution to promoting local business, promoting American made products and stimulating the local - and ultimately the national - economy?  And now, with the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010, the very body which swore to protect us could conceivably bury us small business owners in astronomical fees and mountains of paperwork.

Additionally, the demolition of small cosmetic businesses will eliminate that option from peoples' buying choices, making it nearly impossible for them to buy high quality artisan cosmetics.  The ruination of small local cosmetic businesses also eliminates them from the economic landscape, forcing people at the local level out of jobs, which in turn adversely affects their buying power (no income means much less money to spend locally) and increasing unemployment.  Small business owners of all breeds (not just us cosmetic manufacturers) work so that we can support our families and our communities, which we feel is far better than being unproductive leeches of an already overburdened welfare system.

Please support us and help us keep our own businesses intact, as well as helping us as we support our families, communities and local economies.  I reiterate Donna Maria Cole Johnson's question on her blogWhat are you willing to do to make sure your representatives live up to their promises to support small business owners?

No comments: