Support or Oppose? We Continue to Oppose H.R. 2359

In August 2008 after I returned from my first trip to Washington D.C. with Indie Beauty Network president Donna Maria Coles Johnson and fellow IBN members Lela Barker, Anne-Maria Faiola and Jamila White I wrote in a blog post, “Over the course of the next several months (who knows how long this will last??!), I will continue to update you on our progress.”  Months turned into years and today we continue to fight legislation and share information with you.

Over the years I’ve worried that eventually our industry would divide over the topic of cosmetic legislation. Today, the first cracks showed up.  The Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild came out with a statement yesterday in which they said, “Based on the information provided to us and our current understanding of the bill, we support the intent of The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011.”   It is now obvious to many that we have taken polar opposite positions on H.R. 2359, The Safe Cosmetics Act 2011.

I know that HSMG has had meetings with the staff of the bill sponsors, Representatives Jan Schakowsky, Edward Markey and Tammy Baldwin in the past week and were assured that the sponsors had different intentions with the bill than the interpretations from reading the bill.  I, unfortunately, even if I had heard the promises made by the staff of the sponsors of this bill can not support any bill based on intent alone. When the intentions match the language then, and only then, will I be able to support this bill.

A blog interviewing Janet Nudelman, the legislation coordinator for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and director of program and policy for Breast Cancer Fund, also came out today making similar statements about misinterpretations.  In the blog post the fact that Janet Nudelman is a co-author of H.R. 2359 was not mentioned, in fact, only her Breast Cancer Fund position is mentioned.  It states, “In her own words, Nudelman debunks four of the most commonly held myths about the bill,” however, no sections of the bill are used to reference, prove or explain how the bill had been misinterpreted.  Just more rhetoric from this partisan political organization without a shred of evidence.

The fact is that Janet Nudelman does not even fully understand that bill she and the CFSC helped write because they do not understand the cosmetic industry.  Or maybe they do and they just don’t want you to understand it or oppose it.

We will continue to oppose H.R. 2359, The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 until it is either defeated or rewritten.  Promises and intentions are worthless when it comes to making laws that will impact millions of small and large businesses not to mention every consumer of cosmetics around the world.  I am saddened to have to publicly not support the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild’s position on H.R. 2359.

You can read H.R. 2359 here or you can read H.R. 2359 section by section with my comments here.  Whatever you do make sure that you read the bill before you take a stance on this important legislation.  The new tactic is to make is seem like we are not able to understand the bill. Please. There is nothing tricky with the language just with the way they want to keep you from exercising your right to sound off.

We will be providing a stock form letter that you can use to send to your Congressperson with the opportunity to add your own story. We will also be providing a list of the top 30 Representatives that would oppose this bill and thus creating a blockade in the House for this bill. Stay tuned for more info on how you can help stand up for your rights to be represented.

You made your voices heard in 2008, 2009, 2010 and in Colorado and helped stop senseless legislation and you can do it again in 2011.

Related Post: The Impact of H.R. 2359 on Small Businesses

  • Anonymous

    Have you read Janet’s blog?

  • Anonymous

    (Not sure where else to put this..I’m feeling chatty, snarky and I’m going to be blunt.)

    One item being brought up as support for this bill is that it will “level the playing field” or something like it. I am a customer only, not a business owner: I reap the benefits and suffer the consequences. Thoughts:
     When I think of cosmetics I see two entities, if you will: mainstream (P&G, Chanel, etc.) and indie/natural (small, more specialized.) Side by side, same industry but different, offering unique products. I gravitate toward indies because of the different offerings: unique, creative. One more maintenance, the other luxury. This being said…

    1)  If the big companies are using supposed toxic chemicals why would you need or even want access to their research?

    2)  No offense, but the big guys can afford more than the little guys can. They’ve got the money, the history, the prestige. They can negotiate prices that the little ones just can’t.

    3) Since the big guys can negotiate better prices, why would you want them to, forgive me, intrude into your world? Right now they haven’t focused their red Mordor eye on natural ingredients. Push them (not that you should be afraid of them) and they will call your bluff. They will give you exactly what you want and the playing field will be leveled, just not the way you intended. The natural ingredients that you can barely afford now may not go down in price and even if they do (more demand) the natural ingredient providers will court the big guys. (Think Mom & Pop grocery stores) This is not win-win.

    4) Why can’t the two sides grow together? There’s a need for both. Why shouldn’t the smaller companies step into the empty spot left by the big guys? You’re competing with each other, sure, but you’re not competing straight with Chanel here. You’re going for a different customer than they are. With advertising, blogs and the local Whole Foods your company will get the exposure it needs and will grow as large (or stay small) as you like.

    This has been bugging me for a few days. Hopefully I haven’t offended too many people (I”ve been uninvited before due to my bluntness). If I have offended, tell me. If you have different thoughts, share them.

    Thanks for reading.

    • Nathan Rivas

      Great points!  I have wondered the same thing, as if this bill will do anything short of annihilate all but the biggest of personal care companies.  The P&Gs, Estee Lauder and L’Oreal’s will be the only businesses that are able to afford the testing (pointless) measures outlined in the SCA.  It also seems that the public can pretty much forget about new products or innovations, given that the R&D budget is surely to be absorbed into testing the ppb constituents of every moisturizer and cleanser produced!  

      • Anonymous

        Argh, I forgot! Research and testing costs! There are smaller ingredient companies out there, aren’t there? Not associated with the big companies? They would stick with GRAS ingredients but they also could experiment, too. Aw, they’ll get hit, won’t they.

        • Say No 2 H.R.2359

          @ summertimebluesandgreens
          – where in the bill does it exempt GRAS ingredients from the mandated testing requirements (safety, contaminents, etc).  That was in the marketing…I do not find any such exemption in the language of the actual bill.  Sue Apito

          • Anonymous

            It doesn’t. I just figured that’s what smaller R&D companies would use first in order to attract business so they could eventually branch into new territory. (wild uneducated guess)

            Found this on IFRA North America:

            I had been wondering if there wasn’t something like this in place. Maybe what else is really needed in letting the public know that they can report bad reactions to the FDA, to IFRA and whoever else is involved. I didn’t know this.

          • Say No 2 H.R.2359

            The IFRA recommendations are totally voluntary in the USA, and in fact…many small businesses, whether they formulate with synthetic fragrances or essential oils, don’t even know it exists (I spent MANY years on Yahoo Groups and other social networking sites pre-Facebook…it is scary how many crafters formulate with NO knowledge about this organization).  The FDA always has a method for reporting either complaints or reactions, that’s part of what they do.  I personally have reported two companies to the FDA, the process is you have to report to the agent for your area, then they will send the report to the agent that covers the area where the manufacturer is located.  I reported one company for using illegal colorants and most recently, another company for selling illegal hand sanitizers.

    • Say No 2 H.R.2359

      There are no ingredients used in the natural products industry that are not also used by the corporate formulators, and no ingredients used by corporate formulators that are not also used by many small indie businesses. Size does is no factor in what ingredients are or are not used in formulations.  Sue

      • Anonymous

        So Badger Balm uses the same ingredients as Avalon who uses the same ingredients as L’Occitane? That takes the indies down a notch, doesn’t it? If both of my sides use the same ingredients then why should I support the indies? The playing field, then, doesn’t need to be leveled. It already is.

        Nope, I turn the other cheek, look the other way: I refuse to believe. The indie/natural companies use different ingredients from the big guys. :)

        • Say No 2 H.R.2359

          Sure.  What ingredients do you think small Indie formulators use that many large companies do not?  I personally buy all my soap from local soapmakers because I like to shop local, support local.  Years ago I had to order soap by mail order because handcrafted soap was not available at every farmers market like it is now to a great degree.  I still have to be selective since I will not use products with sythetic fragrances, and try to be selective and not use palm oil unless it is sustainably grown, and I avoid canola oils because of GMOs.  For other cosmetics I buy USDA Certified Organic – some “Indie” brands and some corporate brands. But when it comes to products that need preservatives — I tend to go corporate because far too many Indie businesses don’t properly test their products for safety.  I never buy from anyone who claims their products are “chemical free” or make other claims not based on science or facts.  Indies often try to replicate the corporate brands going so far as to buy the “smell’s like the famous brand” fragrances to mimic the corporate brands. I am not a fan of a creating a loophole for small business – if an ingredient was actually toxic, am I going to be less harmed if I buy it at a Farmers Market than at Macys?  Sue

  • Cindy

    Intentions mean nothing when a bill becomes a law.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, this put a BIG smile on my face! Look at the comments, too!