Cosmetics Firms Agree To Exclude Some Chemicals From Products
Pressure from the San Francisco-based Breast Cancer Fund and other groups has contributed to two cosmetic companies' decision to exclude some chemicals from products sold in the United States, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Revlon and L'Oreal USA have agreed to ban the use of hundreds of materials, some of which are known carcinogens or mutagens.
A rule jointly approved in September by the European Council and the European Parliament requires the chemicals to be excluded from products sold in the European Union (Kay, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/15).
The primary substances to be banned by the companies are phthalates, a group of chemicals that soften plastics. Although the Cosmetics, Toiletry and Fragrance Association says phthalates pose no health risk, some evidence suggests that the chemicals can cause adverse reproductive effects in laboratory animals (Herrick, Wall Street Journal, 1/14).
Breast Cancer Fund Executive Director Jeanne Rizzo said that the companies "stepped away from the industry's party line that insists that all chemicals are safe and Europe is unnecessarily overregulating them." She added, "Revlon and L'Oreal are saying they will voluntarily meet the highest established standards of safety in the world."
L'Oreal USA Senior Vice President Alan Meyers said the restrictions are "the new reality." He added, "Our goal is to be compliant around the world."
Breast Cancer Fund also is holding discussions with other companies, such as Proctor & Gamble, Avon and Estee Lauder, about complying with the E.U. standards in the United States. To date, FDA has prohibited the use of nine chemicals in cosmetics (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/15). Unilever also has announced that its products would not include two phthalates, DBP and DEHP, but will continue to use other phthalates "considered safe," the Journal reports (Wall Street Journal, 1/18).