Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

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The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a coalition of public health, educational, religious, labor, women's, environmental and consumer groups with a goal to protect the health of consumers and workers by requiring the health and beauty industry to phase out the use of chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems and replace them with safer alternatives.

Founding campaign members include Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, the Breast Cancer Fund, Commonweal, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, National Black Environmental Justice Network, National Environmental Trust, and Women's Voices for the Earth.


The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics consumer campaign began in 2002 with the release of a report, "Not Too Pretty: Phthalates, Beauty Products and the FDA".[1]

  • For the report, environmental and public health groups contracted with a laboratory to test 72 name-brand, off-the-shelf beauty products for the presence of phthalates, a chemical class with safety concerns.
  • The lab found phthalates in nearly three quarters of the products tested, though the chemicals were not listed on any of the labels. A second report, "Pretty Nasty", documented similar product test results in Europe.
  • In October 2005, the Environmental Working Group released "Skin Deep: A Safety Assessment of Ingredients in Personal Care Products". This computer investigation into the health and safety assessments on more than 10,000 personal care products found major gaps in the regulatory safety net for these products. Also available is an online rating system that ranks products on their potential health risks and the absence of basic safety evaluations. The core of the analysis compares ingredients in 7,500 personal care products against government, industry, and academic lists of known and suspected chemical health hazards.[2]


In February 2003, the European Union passed a new amendment to their Cosmetics Directive that prohibits the use of known or suspected carcinogens, mutagens and reproductive toxins (CMRs) from cosmetics. This amendment went into force in September 2004.

In spring 2004, members of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and more than 50 other organizations signed a letter asking cosmetics companies and personal care product companies to sign the Compact for Safe Cosmetics (Compact for the Global Production of Safer Health and Beauty Products), a pledge to remove toxic chemicals and replace them with safer alternatives in every market they serve.

On February 8, 2007, representatives of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and environmentalist David Steinman held a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. regarding the presence of 1,4-dioxane in children's and adult's bath and beauty products. Held with participation from the Environmental Working Group, the conference highlighted a range of products including name-brand baby shampoos and bubble baths that were found in lab tests to contain traces of dioxane, although it was never included in product labeling. The press conference also called for official Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight of the cosmetics and personal care products industry, which is currently subject only to suggestions from the FDA.[3]


  1. ^ Houlihan, J., Brody, C., & Schwan, B. (2002, July 8). Not too pretty. Retrieved November 27, 2014, from
  2. ^ Houlihan, J., Brody, C., & Schwan, B. (2002, July 8). Not too pretty. Retrieved November 27, 2014, from
  3. ^ Singer, Natasha, “Should You Trust Your Makeup?” The New York Times, 2/15/07., accessed 12-12-07.

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