Yesterday, myself and many colleagues in the personal care industry listened live for 5+ hours as Colorado voted down The Colorado Safe Personal Care Act (pdf). The bill proposed banning any amount of toxin in ingredients, even naturally occurring trace amounts found in ingredients like olive oil to be used in skin care products. While the premise and name of the Act seem like something I’d support, upon research last week it became clearly evident that Colorado had not done their homework. Why ban something like olive oil or cocoa in cosmetics when we ingest much higher quantities in our food on a daily basis? The testimonies by scientists on both sides of the issue ended up making this point as well when questioned by Colorado Representatives. It became evidently clear through questioning during the testimonies that many who initially supported this bill did not fully understand the implications of trace amounts of substances. Thankfully, the bill was voted down 7-4 based on bad science.
I feel silly saying this given that I was raised eating from a natural food co-op, lived off the grid for 2 years, started a company based on a byproduct, and founded GreenSkincareBlog.com but for the record:
I am in 100% complete support of safe personal care and cosmetics.
I am NOT, however, in support of the way The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics rates toxins in the Skin Deep database.
Why? It’s simple. They are not telling the full story, based on scientific evidence. The Skin Deep database is The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics “rating system” for cosmetic formulations. Sounds like a good idea, right?
It rates your formulas negatively for certain natural, vitamin and antioxidant rich ingredients like olive oil or cocoa butter. Why? Because these botanical ingredients contain naturally occurring trace amounts of toxins… Just like our soil, salt, water or our bodies for that matter! Our bodies create small amounts of formaldehyde (which is a known toxin.) Trace amounts of toxins are all around us in the air we breathe, water we drink, ground we stand on and food we eat. During the hearing a well researched scientist, Dr. Richard Adamson, who testified on behalf of the Personal Care Products Council, stated “dose differentiates a toxicity from remedy.” The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has not taken into account the “dose” of toxins in ingredients. I for one am not going to eliminate these powerful ingredients from my natural skin care formulations just so my company’s products reflect the “best score” in the Skin Deep database. Which sounds crazy, but it’s what certain companies are trying to do to look “better” than their competitors. I have even custom formulated a line for a company emerging on the natural scene that stated this as their agenda. For many difficult reasons, I chose to end that business relationship and no longer work with the company, and am taking a firm stance on where I stand with the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. I was an early signer of The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics before the current Skin Deep database was in place. I have attended Campaign for Safe Cosmetics annual meetings and heard first hand as leaders in the natural personal care industry have suggested revising the system to tell the whole truth and The Campaign has continued on with their own biased agenda. We cannot afford to let the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics lobby legislation in other states based on poor research and incomplete science. Hopefully Colorado bill HB1248 being turned down will set a precedent for other states with pending legislation.
*AUTHOR’s NOTE: I encourage you all to read the comments that arose when this article originally ran on www.greenskincareblog.com