Did you know that there are 80,000 chemicals in use in the US but only 200 of them have been tested, and only 5 have been restricted (partially, at that?) If these numbers look crazy to you, read on… there may be hope!
Just last week, on July 25th, Congress voted in support of updating our country’s woefully out-of-date chemical safety laws, which is the first time they have addressed the issue in 36 years! Hallelujah! Why is this important? We are all exposed to chemicals every day, not only in products for the body but in plastics, in cleaning products, in furniture, in clothing, in canned foods – you name it. They preserve our food, extend the shelf life of makeup, make our furniture “flame-retardant” and give color to our clothes. Unfortunately our bodies are basically sponges, absorbing and consuming hundreds of these chemicals daily. We can’t help it; they’re everywhere. That’s why we need the manufacturers of these chemicals to be regulated at least a little bit so we can be sure that someone is looking out for us and making sure that these chemicals are safe.
The Safe Chemicals Act (S.847, introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg D-NJ) takes steps to address the gaping holes in the current chemical regulatory system so that all of us as consumers are protected, and here’s how:
The chemical industry must provide accurate information on the health and environmental safety of the chemicals they produce in order to stay in, or even simply enter the market. Chemicals without this safety information won’t be allowed in products or workplaces – as it should be! Chemicals must be proven safe before entering the marketplace (as opposed to the way it is now, where a chemical must be proven unsafe before being taken out of the marketplace…if this sounds backwards, that’s because it is).
The Environmental Protection Agency, when assessing the safety of chemicals during testing, must use state-of-the-art science provided by the National Academy of Sciences to make the call, and they would be required to make sure more at-risk segments of our country’s population (low-income communities, children, pregnant women, the elderly) are protected from all sources of exposure to the chemicals they deem toxic.
The bill rewards smart & safe chemical innovation, by rewarding companies that are leaders in putting safer chemicals on the market.
Chemical “hot spots” (local geographic areas where populations are at especially high risk for chemical exposure) must be addressed by the EPA – they must identify at least 20 of them and then make a plan of action as to how to lessen chemical exposure in these areas. These locales are often down river, down wind or just nearby chemical manufacturing facilities, or are located near chemical waste sites, and this bill puts responsibility for cleaning up these issues back in the hands of the chemical manufacturers.
This broad scope of this bill certainly encompasses chemicals that are used in everyday beauty products, so hopefully we will see some changes happening in the cosmetics industry, whether it be switching to safer chemicals or working to educate consumers and be transparent about ingredients. We are proud to be on the good side of this bill, as a company that strongly believes that everybody deserves 100% safe products, and we hope it makes its way through the stages of legislation and becomes a reality!
For more updates about this bill, visit Safer Chemicals Healthy Families’ info page about it, or give it a google and see how far it’s come. Let’s hear it for increased transparency, fewer creepy mystery chemicals, and consumer protection!