Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

There is another worthy organization I should mention while I'm on this kick about things with which you lather, paint, spray, scent, and goop yourself. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics announced last week that they had reached a benchmark. Five hundred companies have now signed onto their "Compact for Safe Cosmetics." By doing so, these manufacturers have pledged "to replace ingredients linked to cancer, birth defects, hormone disruption and other negative health effects within three years."

I have to say, the names of the signers don't sound like the product choices of either ruthless beauty queens or average Americans. The brands tend to have a whimsical, pagan flavor. I ran across Carrot Tree, Cosmic Tree, Cosmic Dance, Earth Dance, and Dancing Dingo. My cuteness award goes to Munchskins Skin Care. I'm too far out of the mainstream to be much judge, but I thought the participating companies with the greatest name recognition were probably The Body Shop and Dr. Bronner's. The Campaign's website notes that "OPI, Avon, Estee Lauder, L'Oreal, Revlon, Proctor & Gamble and Unilever have thus far refused to sign the Compact for Safe Cosmetics."

With a few keystrokes and mouse clicks you can get active and gently encourage the latest Campaign target, OPI, to do the right thing. The nail polish giant has apparently already been cajoled into lumbering in the right direction.

What is my immediate personal stake in this as someone with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities? I myself don't so much mind tracking down obscure alternative products at the health food store, or paying a little more for them. However, I wish it were easier for an accommodating friend to show up fragrance free for a get together. I don't think most people really want to wear ten differently scented products at once if they stop to think about it. I don't think they want perfume so adhesive they can't wash it out of their clothes if they try--even if they don't know the health risks. It shouldn't require a research project to stop making other people sick by your very presence.

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