This Mother’s Day, Clean Up the Toxic Cosmetics Aisle

This Mother’s Day, Clean Up the Toxic Cosmetics Aisle

January 30, 2023

By Healthy Child Staff

In honor of Mother’s Day, we’re featuring this great post by Lisa Archer, co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which originally appeared on our blog in January 2023. We’ve updated the reference to the Safe Cosmetics Act to reflect the 2023 version.

This Mother’s Day, I will be celebrating as a mom to my daughter, Sylvie. Like most new parents, my husband and I have worked to keep toxic chemicals—from cancer causing formaldehyde in baby shampoo to hormone disrupting phthalates in diaper cream—away from her little body at this incredibly important time in her development.

Many parents assume that if a product is marketed to or for children, it must be safe. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Major loopholes in the law make cosmetics and body care products among the least regulated consumer products; in fact, the vast majority of the approximately 12,500 chemicals used by the $50 billion beauty industry have never been assessed for safety. It’s perfectly legal for cosmetics and personal care products to contain chemicals linked to cancer, reproductive and developmental harm, hormone disruption, asthma, and other adverse health effects. Some of these chemicals don’t even appear on product labels.

American consumers use an average of 10 personal care products each day, resulting in exposure to more than 100 distinct chemicals and potentially dozens of hidden ingredients. Toxic cosmetic ingredients are ending up inside our bodies, our breast milk, and our babies, and these chemicals also go down the drain and pollute our waterways and drinking water. Toxic exposures from personal care products add to our daily dose of hazardous chemicals from air, water, food, and other consumer products.

Fortunately, for the first time in 30 years, Congress is paying attention to cosmetics safety. The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2023 would ensure that cosmetics are safe by phasing out chemicals in cosmetics that can cause cancer or reproductive harm, requiring companies to be transparent about what’s in their products, and establishing a strong safety standard to protect babies, children, pregnant women and workers.

A growing number of companies are paying attention to the demand for safer products. You can vote with your dollar to buy safer products for your family or make your own. But ultimately we can’t shop our way out of this problem. This Mother’s Day, let’s make our moms proud and protect the health of our kids by passing real reform that will clean up the products we use every day. Please write your member of Congress today and demand meaningful reform of our broken cosmetics safety laws.

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