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Are your shampoos and lotions safe to use?

by Tracy Gregoire, Healthy Children Project

Personal care products like shampoos and lotions that we use every day should be free of toxic chemicals linked to learning disabilities and other adverse health effects. But the truth is, tens of thousands of beauty and personal care products include unnecessary toxic chemicals. Examples include toluene in nail polish; formaldehyde-releasing preservatives in hair and body products; and even lead in lipstick.

Why are these toxic chemicals allowed? Simply put, the laws in place are badly broken and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lacks the authority to effectively regulate the $81 billion cosmetics industry.

Bipartisan leadership in both the U.S. House and Senate are calling for cosmetic safety policy reform. Senator Susan M. Collins (R-ME) and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) reintroduced their Personal Care Product Safety Act (S.1113). Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced his own bill (S.2003), FDA Cosmetic Safety and Modernization Act. While both bills contain some much-needed changes, there are still critically needed changes in order to protect our health. That’s why Tracy Gregoire with LDA of Maine led a meeting with Nancy Buermeyer and Lisette van Vliet of the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners to share these concerns with Senator Collins in November.

Pictured from left, Nancy Buermeyer, Tracy Gregoire, Senator Susan Collins, and Lisette van Vliet.

This month, over 100 safe-cosmetic companies and non-profit advocacy organizations – including the national Learning Disabilities Association of America and state LDA chapters – signed onto a letter by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics asking the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee to address the gaping holes in cosmetic safety that have existed in this country for eighty years.

Stay tuned for more: LDA will continue to monitor the situation and look for ways for our powerful voices to weigh-in as cosmetic safety bills move through the House and the Senate.

Tracy Gregoire is the Healthy Children Project (HCP) Director for LDA of Maine and the State Affiliate Coordinator of the HCP for LDA of America. She is also the proud mom of an 8-year-old who is in theater and unicycles.

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