Vested Interest, Truth and Safe Cosmetics

Over the weekend, I was made aware of “vested interest” comments about Personal Care Truth on the HSMG Facebook page. For the life of me, I can’t understand why this is still an issue.  Can you believe we are having to say this for the 4th time in a post?  I’ve been told that it is hard for people to believe that PCT was created by two women in the industry, myself and Kristin Fraser Cotte.  Creating a website is not rocket science.  As a matter of fact, the only science involved is the science we share about personal care products.

History of PCT

March 1, 2010, during the Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act legislative session, we heard Susan Roll, co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, testify they don’t have the science, and the bill was voted 7 – 4 against, based on bad science .  This story has been told many times, so for those that aren’t familiar, you can read the post and listen to the audio here.

I found a link to the live audio of the legislative session, and soon Twitter was a buzz from everyone listening to testimonies from both sides of the bill.  Our very own Cindy Jones, Ph.D., testified at the session.  PCT couldn’t be happier to have such a knowledgeable and prominent mind, at the top of her field.  Cindy is one smart cookie, as are all the experts on PCT.

March 3, 2010, Kristin and I get a direct message on Twitter from Stacy Malkan, co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics:

* I did not make public the number and email Stacy provided in her direct message above since I do not know if they are private.

This was great news.  We were finally going to find a way to work together instead of against one another.  Kristin and I were both compact signers; however, we both asked to be removed at different times.  I asked to be removed after the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics asked compact signers to sign a petition supporting the FDA Globalization Act of 2008.  Last year, after numerous emails to the CFSC asking to be removed, it took Kristin sending a demanding email, if her company was not removed as a compact signer, she would be forced to turn the matter over to her attorney.  Kristin was removed that day.

Back to the common ground direct message.  Through back and forth emails, we finally decided on a conference call date of March 8, 2010 at 2PM.  The conversation was good; however, we never really worked on common ground.  The call consisted on learning the following from Stacy:

Stacy began telling us the background of CFSC, which is since 2000, researching particular chemicals.  A lot of attention and interest – grew to coalition of 8 groups, which after looking on the website, it’s 10.

CFSC focused on conventional, big brands.  Tried to keep an open mind and communication with compact signers, and between small business owners.  Stacy felt small business is critical to the cosmetic industry.

CFSC was focused to strengthen at the federal level, not each state.  To give the FDA more authority. Repeated the federal level is their focus.  When I asked about their petition and what they meant by empowering the FDA to regulate cosmetic ingredients and products before they reach store shelves to ensure their safety, Stacy said that the 8 groups (actually 10) would generally like to give FDA authority to:

  • review pre-market safety data to do recalls
  • some requirements for safety assessments
  • putting in place best practices guidelines for chemicals like lead and 1-4 Dioxane

Susan Roll was with the CFSC in the beginning, but not now.  Stacy indicated they (CFSC) were consulted with in regards to Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act, but it wasn’t their bill.

Stacy believed for right policy with a level playing field for small business.  She wanted to have additional conversation with Indie Beauty Network and its members on any legislation.

Stacy felt the FDA has done such important things in the past, and agrees with changes at the federal level and has no interest at the state level.

I asked Stacy three separate times if she was interested in continuing our common ground conversation and she answered yes all times.  Stacy said she would be open to a face to face; however, she would need to get with Lisa Archer to see what kind of schedule could be worked out.

March 18, 2010 was the last time we heard from Stacy Malkan. Her email to us said:

Hi Kristin and Lisa,

Just wanted to let you know that my conversation with Donna Marie was delayed until end of next week, but I am still planning to pull together a larger conversation with our groups in the near future.

The night of our conference call with Stacy, I had a dream that I had written a book titled, ‘Truth or Dare Scare: Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Fact or Fiction’.  Since Kristin and I were on the conference call together, I thought she would make a great partner and co-author.

Since we had not heard from Stacy, and was still seeing all the fear mongering claims, and misinformation that was saturating the internet, it occurred to us that a book would take too long to make available to the general public, not to mention the money it would take to produce.  Kristin and I decided a website would be the fastest, and least expensive way to get our message across.

April 28, 2010, I contacted Jennifer Smith with Eco-Office Gals.  We received a quote from Jennifer to build the site, and after a short discussion, Kristin and I gave Jennifer our outline for what we wanted PCT to look like and what we would be providing for content.  Personal Care Truth is a partnership, solely owned by myself and Kristin.  We used personal money from OUR POCKETS to pay for the site creation, URL, gravity forms, etc.  Whatever was required to get PCT up and running, WE PAID FOR IT by splitting the costs right down the middle.

Personal Care Truth was not and is not financed by big business or a third party.  Every decision for PCT is made by us, 2 women in the cosmetic industry.  Yes, we have a donation button on our site because there are people who believe in truthful information backed by scientific facts, and want to support what we started on May 17, 2010, and continue to provide.  Do we send out annoying emails or newsletters asking for a donation, or impressing upon our readers that a donation is needed to reach our goal?  No, we don’t do that.

Personal Care Truth, its owners, and experts all believe in safe cosmetics.  The introduction of H.R. 2359: Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 has created a division in the small business arena, and that’s sad.  We should be working together on legislation.  The fact that you have a “seat at the table” doesn’t mean you will get to break bread in the end.  We need a collective voice, not a sense of “divide and conquer”.

Personal Care Truth still opposes H.R. 2359: Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 because it is unworkable, far reaching, and will do absolutely nothing to make cosmetics safer than they already are.  We support safe cosmetics and certainly believe the FDA could use more transparency; however, we should be focusing on improving current legislation instead of completely changing it to serve the goals of non-governmental organizations that have yet to present the science to support their claims.  If you agree and want to oppose H.R. 2359, you may sign the petition.

So, there ya have it, in a nutshell, for the fourth and final time.  For those that still believe two women couldn’t create and pay for a site like Personal Care Truth, I say I’m done explaining, and appreciate you insulting our intelligence. Think what you want.  Say what you want.  I know the truth, and I’m no longer going to waste time or energy on the subject of vested interest.

Have a great day!

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