Where is The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011?

Ever since the big announcement was made on Friday, June 24th, 2011 introducing The Safe Cosmetics Act, H.R. 2359, I’ve been waiting to see what the actual bill includes.

Now, is it me or is this beginning to feel like a huge PR move by Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Edward Markey (D-MA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to build momentum and excitement for The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 so when the bill is finally made public, we will all be blinded by the warm fuzzies, and won’t bother to read what’s in it?

I’m also wondering if the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the EWG don’t have a hand to play in this little game of cat and mouse. When you read all the posts and updates coming from their camp, it’s obvious they have a front row seat, and probably have a copy of the bill on a desk in their offices. They sure do have a great many aspects of the bill they are pointing out, and how great they will be for consumers. I’m pretty sure they have a copy of the bill because they are the driving force behind this proposed legislation. Do you think I’m too off the mark?

Ask yourself this. Why would the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and EWG do all this positive talking about how great this proposed legislation is if they had not seen the actual bill? Would they actually support something they haven’t read? I sure wouldn’t, and I know Personal Care Truth readers wouldn’t.

I typically don’t get excited over something I’ve never seen or read. I err on the side of caution when it comes to politics especially. Celebrating a bill that has not been released to the public is premature. I’m definitely not going to be a part of the party that could be quoted when the bill comes out and there is nothing to celebrate.

I’m hoping the text of the bill will present itself in a speedy manner on Open Congress, GovTrack and THOMAS. Consumers and industry people alike have a right to read proposed legislation that could possibly change the cosmetic industry as we know it.

What are your thoughts?

  • Tricia

    Feeling the same way, Lisa!!  Odd that the text isn’t out yet……..

    • http://personalcaretruth.com Lisa M. Rodgers

      Hey Tricia – I’m amazed at all the posts out there that are regurgitating what the CFSC says this bill will do for consumers and the cosmetic industry. I’m a conspiracy theorist at heart. I believe they are holding on to the release of the text because they know there will be plenty of posts that go up against it, so the more they have out there, the less people will read of the opposition.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VQ6QXKIJCLIG53PYF6LLPXAJ44 Julie

    You may be right, and it might not be a bad idea to contact the representatives who are sponsoring the bill and tell them your thoughts. If they realize that the CFSC and EWG are sharing information that makes it obvious they already have the bill, then maybe it will speed things up, so they don’t look any worse than they already do. I think talking about this more (maybe to the media?) could only help. (I’m not saying go on national tv and accuse them of something, just get the word out that it’s obvious they’ve been in touch with those NGOs and are working with them, and not working with the cosmetic industry.) Just a thought…

    • http://personalcaretruth.com Lisa M. Rodgers

      Something tells me it would be a waste of time to contact the legislators. The CFSC doesn’t have the science to back their position, so they will use the arena of public opinion, and the skills of fear mongering they have mastered. The Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act failed to pass last year because they didn’t have the science, just the precautionary principle. 

      This quote alone from Rep Jan Schakowsky’s press release leads me to believe she is working closely with the CFSC:

      “And
      according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Americans use an average
      of 10 personal care products each day, resulting in exposure to more
      than 126 unique chemicals.” http://schakowsky.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2948&Itemid=16

  • http://www.indiebusinessblog.com Donna Maria Coles Johnson

    Interesting, I was just asking this question this morning. Where is the bill indeed? A draft of the small business exemptions was shared with me several days ago, but I’ve seen nothing more, despite requesting a copy from the people who have it — if it exists. It’s been getting some amazing positive press from some influential people. Have they been commenting in a vacum, with only small portions of the draft like what I have? Or has a full version been selectively released for some reason? This is an interesting and fluid situation, and I am following with great interest.

    • http://personalcaretruth.com Lisa M. Rodgers

      Me too dM! Almost makes me wonder if they have something to hide. Something they know the opposition will jump on like a dog to a bone, and then quash their wonderful world of setting out to save the cosmetic industry from itself.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, its interesting that I’ve read several blogs touting the benefits of this bill but the bill has not been released for the general public to start perusing. Something is up here.

    • http://personalcaretruth.com Lisa M. Rodgers

      “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” ~ Marcellus, Act I, Scene IV, Hamlet

      • http://colinsbeautypages.co.uk Colin

        Dene would agree given Denmark’s attitude to parabens.

  • http://personalcaretruth.com Lisa M. Rodgers

    I just got off the phone with Alex, an aide in Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s office. I asked when the general public could expect to see the official text of H.R. 2359, and was told the bill was on THOMAS. When I said, no sir it isn’t, I was placed on hold. When Alex came back to the phone, he said it could take a couple days and up to a week before we see the text. He then asked for my contact name, company name and email address. So…..we’ll see if it appears on Friday.

    Also an interesting note, on the THOMAS site, it states:

    “The time it takes for committee reports to become available varies. Much
    depends on when a given committee releases the text of a report, and
    GPO may require several days to format the text properly. Once the
    Library receives the text, it becomes available within a few hours,
    though delays are possible if manual adjustments to the text are
    required.”

    http://thomas.loc.gov/home/faqlist.html

    I also pointed out that on Open Congress, it shows the introduction of the bill, however, the original text is not available. Nor is it showing on GovTrack.

  • http://greenskincareblog.com/ Kristin Fraser Cotte

    Seems like maybe there is a well executed PR plan being played out here due to the history behind this bill…. The fact that people are writing about it and supporting it without even reading the entire bill is disturbing. Shouldn’t we all read the entire bill before we voice our opinion?

  • http://personalcaretruth.com Lisa M. Rodgers

    I just got off the phone with a legal representative in the Law Library {THOMAS}, who wouldn’t give her name, just referred to herself as a legal representative. She indicated as soon as they received the bill, it would be online within 24hrs. While on the phone, she checked the GPO {Government Printing Office} website and said it was not up on their site either. Her last response was that the bill was somewhere between the House and GPO.

    http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.php
    http://www.gpo.gov/

  • Day4dreams

    I am guilty of voicing an opinion on the bill before reading it myself.  In my case, I am opposed.

    One “insider*” was cheering the bill.

    To her I replied:  I oppose the bill. We have school children going hungry every day in the country – would you rather have our tax dollars to be spent policing the shampoo or hand cream your neighbors choose to buy at Walmart or feeding hungry children? I already choose products with no parabens, no synthetic fragrance, no petrochemicals…I don’t need the government to waste our precious tax dollars with more laws we don’t have the money to enforce. Right now…today…there are people who posted on the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Facebook page who are selling products that are 100% illegal — hand sanitizers that do not meet with the FDA laws for that product. I reported them to the FDA. That law is already in effect — but not enforced. More laws will just be more laws the government cannot afford to enforce. Right now, there are companies promoted on “green”, eco-friendly, consumer review-type websites and blogs who are breaking the USDA laws for claiming they have organic ingredients in their cosmetics — when neither those ingredients nor their product line are USDA certified. The NOP is law…yet it is not enforced. How about we enforce the laws already THERE protecting us before we add more?

    Then I asked her (more than once) how she was able to voice such overwhelming support:  “Once again, has anyone who has cheered this bill actually read it? It’s like buying a product based on the front label and never reading the ingredients. The summary on the Campaign website is not sufficient to make an informed decision, that is marketing.”

    Her reply was to tell me she read the bill online.

    When I challenged that (since it does not seem to BE online) she changed her story and said; “I requested the PDF from the Campaign for my studying.”

    On the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Facebook page, I replied to a post: “@ Stacy — you have dozens of consumers (maybe hundreds) posting here, there and everywhere in favor of a bill they have never read. How is this mind-set any different from the big corporations hoping you will just read the claims on the product front label and never turn the bottle over and read the actual ingredients. You are playing to the very mentality you criticize. Right now…it’s all marketing and no substance…same as the cosmetic companies are guilty of.”

    The reply was from another “insider” who wrote: “‎@ Susan — the text of the bill, H.R 2359, is publicly available and people can find it via the Campaign website too, http://www.safecosmetics.org/section.php?id=74.

    Campaign staff pursue access to accurate information and real health protections, not profits or manipulation.”

    The thing is…this is not true.  (Which did not stop her post being cheered and thanked!!)

    I replied: @ {insider}: there is no text of the bill on that web page. I clicked the links on that page and was taken to “The text of H.R.2359 has not yet been received from GPO. Bills are generally sent to the Library of Congress from the Government Printing Office a day or two after they are introduced on the floor of the House or Senate. Delays can occur when there are a large number of bills to prepare or when a very large bill has to be printed.”

     http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112%3AH.R.2359

    This is confirmed on the page you referenced: “(note: Complete bill text is not yet available on THOMAS/LOC, but should be up by July 1.)”

    So I don’t know what you are reading but the public is cheering for something they have not even read yet.”

    *Insider – someone who claims to have read the bill.

    Sue Sawhill Apito

    • Anonymous

      You and I may disagree on some things, Day4dreams, but I admire the heck out of your grit! :)

      So am I really not the only one who is seeing things on the “green” side that look too much like what the mainstream side is accused of? I’ve been questioning my own judgement on that one, wondering if I’m just reading things wrong or projecting my beliefs on them.

      Tina S

      • Day4dreams

        Thanks Tina.  I’ve been taking quite a beating “over there” but I have the luxury of not being, as Mia Davis so perfectly put it, a “shareholder” in this process.  I am just a Mom, a consumer, and care about the health of the planet we leave our future generations. So I can say what I want and not risk losing my job, or my customers, or my livlihood.  My objection right now, originally to the FDA being expected to police more laws when they clearly are not able to police the few we already have — is now a real objection to the way this Bill was announced to consumers; with an expection that saying “this bill will do this or that so write to your Senators TODAY!” without the opportunity for anyone but an “insider”, or a stakeholder in this, to even read the Bill, is my main objection at present.It’s one thing to think consumers are unable to read an ingredient lable without their hand being held, another to treat them with this level of disrespect.  It’s one thing to tell a toddler “do it…because I say so” — a whole different thing to say that very same thing to grown adults. And you can’t unring that bell.

        Sue Sawhill Apito

        • Anonymous

          Do the supporters see it that way, though? When something’s important you don’t always, well, “see”. Ha, haven’t we all been ther :(

          I’ve been reading articles at happi.org and I think it’s cosmetics & toiletries mag online to see what’s happening. I’d been seeing the “naturals”, or what seemed to be more natural or green, articles. They seemed positive, great! The customer asks (ok, demands) and the industry is answering! But nothing is being said. No upbeat articles claiming victory or updates on how the industry is changing. Maybe I missed those articles. I guess that’s really when I began questioning what this safe cosmetics bill is really, truly about. P&G got a sentence or two under Stacy’s blog about how they’re switching to beets (?) for plastic instead of petros. But even that wasn’t good enough. So what is good enough? What is going to make you happy? What’s the real intention behind this if it isn’t to go more green? Isn’t that a goal? It sounds like a great one.

          If this were a romance we’d have broken up by now. There seems to be not enough ways to show and prove the love. More demands are made, nothing seems good enough, the smallest steps are not praised. It’s an abusive relationship: one always demanding, one always giving.

          Ah, well, I’m just babbling now. If you have any clue what their real intentions or goals are I really would like to know. I’ve been looking into this for a year and was obviously wrong about my first assessment. A part of me would still like to believe…to have faith…that this is about safety, about …you get the idea.

          We are all shareholders in this. Whatever comes of it, we’re stuck living with it.

          • Rich Summers

            I think you have actually hit the nail on the head there Tina “what is the real intention behind the bill”. I feel that even if a load of legislation comes in that they then still won’t be happy. As far as I can make out it is nothing to do with actual safe cosmetics any more ( lets be honest there aren’t many unsafe cosmetics out there ) and far more to do with political agendas and the attempts to ban certain ingredients that they don’t like.

  • http://twitter.com/essentialU Essential U

    Anyone remember that old Wendy’s commercial?  Where’s the beef?  That is the jingle that goes through my head every time I wonder or read “Where’s the bill?”

    • Day4dreams

      My update – I asked Mia Davis - please explain why the bill is not available to read online, and you have to have an inside connection to the Campaign to get to read the actual bill. All consumers have right now is the equivalent of a marketing ad…all claims and no substance.

      The “official” reply: Mia Davis replied – ‎@Susan, Maybe you’re unfamiliar with the process, which is no problem, but please do not imply that the bill is purposely being hidden and that it is final as is, forever. That is totally incorrect.
      It is not at all unusual that the full text of the bill is not online right after a bill introduction. I was told that in this case it may be taking longer than usual to get the full text online because Congress is on recess this week and many staff are on vacation. It is as simple as that; rest assured there is no funny business or sneaky stuff going on.
      A PDF of the bill has been shared with some people who have promised not to post it because the bill number, format and little details (yes, little details) on language are not final. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics are not the only folks who have seen the bill- another totally normal part of the bill introduction process is to share a copy with some trusted allies and stakeholders. If you want a copy of the bill before it is posted online (we heard that might happen by tomorrow) you’ll have to contact the bill sponsors.
      And, a bill most definitely goes through changes, edits before it goes to a vote. No doubt about that.
      Finally, as we have before, let me direct you to the http://www.SafeCosmetics.org/safecosmeticsact page to learn more about the changes in the 2011 bill, changes that are the result of informed comments from dozens of cosmetics companies that are not anti-regulation, but who saw the need to make the bill more workable for small business. When you have the chance to pore over the bill text, which will be very soon, I hope you’re excited about the possibility to fix this very broken system. I know I am.

      Sue

    • http://personalcaretruth.com Lisa M. Rodgers

      Thanks for embedding that image into my brain! ;-)

  • Jackyoup

    This Bill should be opposed in its current form as it is full of unscientific propaganda and scare tactics that will not serve the public in any way at all.

    Check out this Blog for all the details of the bill and exactly what each of the problems are.

    http://essentialu.typepad.com/

    Just because it has the word “Safe” in the name does not make it so.

    Jackie

    • http://personalcaretruth.com Lisa M. Rodgers

      Thanks for your comments Jackie. Kayla is an expert here on PCT, and I’m in the process of adding her breakdown posts to the site as we speak.