|For Immediate Release: September 24th, 2004|
USA TODAY AD NAMES BAD ACTOR COSMETICS COMPANIES
Letters from cosmetics companies released today reveal pattern of dismissing health concerns
York -- A full-page advertisement in USA Today challenges cosmetics
companies to come clean about whether they plan to remove toxic
chemicals that are banned in the European Union from products sold on
American shelves. The advertisement was placed by the Campaign for Safe
Cosmetics, a coalition of US health and environmental groups.
This month, a law requiring cosmetics companies to stop using chemicals
that are known or highly suspected of causing cancer, impaired
fertility or birth defects - such as the phthalates DBP and DEHP used
in some fragrance, hair spray and nail polish - entered into force in
25 EU countries. Cosmetics companies must remove the proscribed
chemicals from products in Europe by next spring.
"Which company do you trust with your daughter?" asks the provocative
advertisement, which depicts a young girl applying lipstick. The ad
berates industry leaders L'Oreal, Revlon and Unilever for ignoring
requests to remove toxic chemicals from American products.
"Today we are releasing correspondence from these companies showing
that they have failed to respond in good faith to the legitimate
concerns of American consumers," said Jeanne Rizzo, executive director
of the Breast Cancer Fund, a founding member of the coalition.
"People are putting chemicals on and into our bodies every day, though
use of shampoo, deodorant, face cream, hairspray and all of the other
bottles, jars and cans that fill our bathrooms. Chemicals linked to
cancer and birth defects do not belong in these products, period."
According to the letters released today by the group:
· L'Oreal failed to respond to letters requesting meetings and
information about chemical usage, but the company did find the time to
write a letter from their lawyers demanding that the Campaign for Safe
Cosmetics stop using the slogan, "Because We're Worth It!" -- a play on
L'Oreal's "Because I'm Worth It!" tagline.
· Revlon sent the Campaign a form letter from an industry trade
association, implying phthalates are "perfectly safe" - a claim refuted
by government panels in several countries.
· Unilever failed to respond to repeated requests for dialogue, even
though the company's Korean subsidiary has already pledged to remove
all phthalates from products sold in South Korea.
Correspondence with all these companies is posted at http://www.safecosmetics.org,along with the USA Today ad and a list of 32 companies that have signed a pledge to make safer products available worldwide.
members of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics include: Alliance for a
Healthy Tomorrow, Breast Cancer Fund, Clean Water Fund, Commonweal,
Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, Massachusetts Breast
Cancer Coalition, National Black Environmental Justice Network,
National Environmental Trust and Women's Voices for the Earth.
For more information and background on the campaign, see www.SafeCosmetics.org.