Most Americans would be astonished to learn that of the approximately 12,500 individual chemical ingredients in personal care products, the overwhelming majority has never been reviewed for safety by any governmental or “publicly accountable body.” It is estimated by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics that Americans generally use ten personal care products daily—which can expose them to more than 126 “unique” chemicals. More than 500 products sold in the United States utilize ingredients banned in Canada, Europe, and Japan. Hormone disruptors have been found in perfume; chemicals have been identified in umbilical cord blood. Are American consumers being adequately protected?
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) doesn’t think so. A long time consumer advocate, Schakowsky is spearheading a move to revamp the obsolete federal law from 1938. She has introduced House Resolution 5786, with current co-sponsors Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).
In 2001, Schakowsky introduced the Safe Notification and Information for Fragrances Act. At that time, she reached out to Janet Nudelman, who serves as both the legislative coordinator for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Director of Program and Policy for the Breast Cancer Fund. Nudelman outlined how fragrance was only a small part of the larger problem—toxic chemicals throughout the spectrum of cosmetics and personal care products. When I interviewed Nudelman she said, “Rep.