Once I learned about the lack of regulations in the personal care industry and what companies are legally allowed to get away with, I knew I had to do something about it. I wasn’t sure what or who would listen to me at first. But, once I became involved with Beautycounter and Women’s Voices for the Earth, they both empowered me to use my voice to help advocate for more health-protective laws in the personal care industry. Through those organizations, I have lobbied in DC at the federal level and in Montana at both the state and federal levels. I continue my lobby efforts year after year and encourage my followers to use their voices as well.
Want to know why I got so fired up about this in the first place? Well, what I'm about to share is pretty unbelievable. It's what drives me every day to do what I do and I hope learning some of this information will inspire you to use your voice as well. Together, we can use our voices (and our votes) to make a difference.
CURRENT STATE OF COSMETICS/PERSONAL CARE REGULATIONS
First, shockingly, there has not been a major federal law passed regulating the personal care industry since 1938. I am not kidding. This is a $65 billion+ industry and it's virtually the wild west - just about anything goes and you and I are essentially the guinea pigs.
Two, the European Union has banned or restricted over 1400 ingredients in personal care products, while the U.S. FDA has banned or restricted 30. That means that there are - legally - ingredients used in our everyday products, including shampoo, baby lotion, and eye shadow that are linked to a slew of human health issues, such as cancer, infertility, birth defects, endocrine disruption, and more.
Three, last year, retailers Claire's and Justice were found to be selling cosmetics marketed to tweens and teens that contained asbestos, a byproduct of mined talc. Asbestos is a known carcinogen. Even the smallest exposure can result in lung disease down the road. Under current law, the FDA had zero authority to pull those items from the shelves. Heard enough? Want to do something about it? Here are eight ways you can lend your voice to changing the laws and shifting the market towards safer.
Take action and demand change from the government, corporations, and decision-makers!
Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202.224.3121 and ask to be connected to one of your US senators. Once connected, you may choose to leave a message or speak to a staff member. Check out this sample script: "Hi, my name is ______, and I'm calling to let the senator know that I'm very concerned about harmful ingredients found in cosmetics and skincare products, which currently are perfectly legal for companies to use. This is unacceptable, and I'm asking the senator to take action and update our cosmetic safety laws to better protect our health." Repeat this action with your other senator. (Source: Beautycounter)
ext "BetterBeauty" to 52886 to be directed to a short (I'm talking five minutes or less) series of steps to contact all of your members of Congress to encourage their support of better beauty laws via email. Editable templates provided upon texting.
Send a letter or postcard to your senators. Find your senator's mailing address by visiting www.senate.gov. Here is my sample template: "Dear Senator, My name is ____ from _____. I'm asking for your support in creating stricter laws for the beauty and personal care industries. I believe it is unacceptable for cosmetic companies to use harmful ingredients in the products we use every day. Like many Americans, I want to know that the products my family and I use are safe before they enter our home. As one of your constituents, I am asking that you please support reform in the broken and outdated laws currently governing this industry."
Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. You can use my letter published in the Helena Independent Record as an example to write your own. It took a lot of follow-ups to get published, so keep nudging if you do not hear back right away!
Vote for candidates who share your position on regulatory laws within the personal care industry. Important questions to ask include, "Federal law governing cosmetics have not been significantly updated since 1938. This is an issue that affects everyone who uses personal care products. How do you propose we reform the laws?" And, this one,"When a personal care product is found to be harmful to human health, do you believe that the company or FDA should be responsible for pulling the product off the shelves and online?" This one, too, "Currently, the E.U. bans or restricts 1400 ingredients, Canada bans or restricts 600 ingredients, and the U.S. bans or restricts only 30. Do you believe the U.S. should have a process in place to reach parity with other countries?" (Source: Beautycounter)
Use your dollars to support companies and non-profits that are dedicated to lessening everyday toxins and that value transparency and healthier ingredients. Here is a list of some of my favorites. Watch out for more of my faves on this blog.
Join me as a Beautycounter consultant and work alongside thousands of women and men advocating for cosmetics reform with the mission of getting safer products into the hands of everyone. Join me, too, as an actionista with Women's Voices for the Earth, a national non-profit dedicated to amplifying women's voices to eliminate the toxic chemicals that harm our health and our communities.
Follow Lindsey Dahl, Vice President of Social and Environmental Responsibility for Beautycounter, on her website or on Instagram at @beautycounter.hill.nerd for great tips on advocacy.
Share this post and these action steps with your friends and family!