What Will You Pledge This Earth Day?

Pamela Alabaster
Contributing Writer

Earth Day provides a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the majesty and splendor of nature. Whether experiencing the arrival of spring and its inherent rebirth or patiently awaiting the winter thaw, this is a season for hope and optimism.

Earth Day calls on us to recognize how much we depend on the Earth’s natural capital and eco-system services (i.e. fresh water, clean air, land, marine environment, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, etc.) to sustain our lives. It reminds us of our need to preserve the biodiversity and remarkable beauty nature offers us all. This day is intended to foster appreciation for our environment and awareness of issues that threaten it.

On April 22, 1970, in a rare demonstration of unity, 20 million Americans – conservatives and liberals alike – celebrated the first Earth Day, taking to the streets to promote environmental conservation and respect for life on the planet, as well as to encourage awareness of the growing problems of air, water, and land pollution. It was a real awakening for many Americans and marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement, which saw the passage of landmark environmental laws that still govern today. These laws include the Clean Air Act, Wilderness Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act, and led to the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Nearly 50 years later, despite decades of environmental progress, the state of our planet should still be of grave concern to all. Now is the time to re-up our commitments to do more to preserve and protect our environment for generations who will follow.

Citizens have an important role to play. It’s in our best interest to be more enlightened and take steps now to ensure the wise use of the Earth’s resources and protect its capacity for self-renewal. So, what can you do? Plenty.

Ten ways in which you can be a better environmental steward:

  1. Walk or cycle instead of driving; carpool or take public transport whenever possible.
  2. Carry reusable water bottles, bags, coffee cups, and take-away containers with you.
  3. Recycle and compost your waste.
  4. Buy energy-saving, compact-fluorescent light bulbs and other energy efficient products.
  5. Spend time in nature. Take a walk, a hike, deepen your connection to the natural world.
  6. Wash your laundry with cold water.
  7. Go meat- or dairy-free at least once a week.
  8. Go paperless; print two sided when you need to print.
  9. Buy local produce.

As we gear up for Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary in 2020, let’s pledge to do our part to protect our fragile and beloved planet and honor all that it provides for us. For more information about Earth Day, visit https://www.earthday.org/earthday/countdown-to-2020/.

For more information about the cosmetics and personal care industry’s commitment to a sustainable future, visit https://www.personalcarecouncil.org/science-safety/sustainability/.

Testimony of Dr. Jay Ansell Before California Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials

Chairman Quirk and Members of the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials:

Good afternoon, I am Dr. Jay Ansell, Vice President for Cosmetic Programs at the Personal Care Products Council.  I am both a Ph.D. chemist and board-certified toxicologist, and I am here to express our strong opposition to Assembly Bill 495.

This bill proposes an outright ban on many ingredients extensively reviewed by independent experts worldwide and found safe for use in cosmetics. The ban would adversely affect tens of thousands of products and potentially compromise the ability to provide consumers with the safe high-quality products they expect.

Simply stated, no other authority in the world agrees that an outright ban for many of these ingredients is needed.

PCPC is the leading national trade association representing more than 600 companies, including 100 that either call California home or have a presence here.  The beauty and personal care industry is an important part of California’s economy, employing approximately 415,000 people throughout the state while contributing $28 billion to the state’s economy.

More specifically, PCPC is opposed to AB 495 for the following reasons:

  • S. federal law governing cosmetics and personal care products absolutely requires that cosmetics products and ingredients must be safe for consumers, AND that companies and individuals who market cosmetics are legally responsible for assuring the safety of their products.
  • Federal law provides enforcement authority and sets severe penalties for product manufacturers that do not meet these strict requirements. The law allows inspections of manufacturing plants; issuing Warning Letters; requesting voluntary recalls with the issuing of press releases; and, working with the Department of Justice, having restraining order issued; products seized; up to and including criminal prosecution.
  • The bill would ban whole classes of preservatives used in tens of thousands of products. These preservatives are widely used and have been reviewed and found safe for use in cosmetics by authoritative bodies both within and outside the United States.  Having a suitable pallet of preservatives is an essential requirement in cosmetic formulation science making sure that products maintain their integrity over time, particularly during storage and use by consumers. Lack of proper preservation can lead to contamination of products with harmful microorganisms – which can result in eye, skin and respiratory infections.
  • The bill places a ban on products containing naturally occurring impurities that are found in everything from the air we breathe to the food and water we consume. Lead, for example, is never an intentionally added ingredient.  It can be found in trace amounts in water and soil and therefore may be found in extremely low levels as a trace contaminant in many raw materials. Manufacturers and Regulatory bodies around the world know this and have already addressed this issue.  As an impurity in cosmetics, limits for lead have been set under the International Cooperation on Cosmetics Regulation program, which includes cosmetic regulators from the U.S., Canada, Japan, Brazil and the European Union. Even California’s own OEHHA has set a No Significant Risk Level for lead in the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.
  • In 2008, the legislature agreed that the best venue for science-based decisions is with DTSC and State Agency scientists. The Safer Consumer Products Law was enacted so that the legislature would not be faced with bills like AB 495, which puts them in the position of making complex scientific decisions on an ingredient-by-ingredient basis. AB 495 contradicts OEHHA by proposing an outright ban on several chemicals already addressed or are currently under review by DTSC. At a minimum, California should let DTSC continue the role it was given by this legislature before stepping in and introducing additional regulation.
  • Last but not least, cosmetics companies work with and employ thousands of chemists, toxicologists, biologists, and environmental scientists and has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in research advancing 21st century safety assessment science – all to ensure we are providing safe, high-quality products to our consumers.

In summary, this bill proposes to ban ingredients that play a critical role in assuring the safety of cosmetics relied on by consumers, addresses other substances that are not and would not be used as ingredients and in many ways’ conflicts with conclusions of California’s own experts.

For all of the above reasons, we oppose AB 495.

Thank you for the opportunity to hear our views and we respectfully ask for your NO vote.


PCPC Supports FDA Modernization

Lezlee Westine
President & CEO
Personal Care Products Council

The Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) and its member companies support modernizing the Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act to ensure the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the appropriate authority and resources to regulate cosmetic products in the 21st century.

Decades of consumer experience with our products demonstrate they are among the safest product categories regulated by the FDA. Nevertheless, we believe well-crafted, science-based reforms will support the industry’s ability to innovate and further strengthen consumer confidence in our products.

For more than a decade, PCPC and its member companies have worked with a bipartisan group of leaders in Congress and a diverse group of interested parties to create a more contemporary regulatory system for the cosmetics and personal care sectors.

We believe a comprehensive national program, based on the best available science, is needed to ensure uniform regulation of cosmetics throughout the country, in order to prevent an unworkable patchwork of differing state requirements across the nation.

Our member companies endorse a set of reform principles, including:

Mandatory Registration: Establish mandatory foreign and domestic manufacturing registration and ingredient reporting by manufacturers for all cosmetic products sold in the U.S.;

Adverse Event Reporting: Require mandatory reporting by manufacturers to FDA of serious and unexpected adverse health events from a cosmetic product marketed and used in the U.S.;

Mandatory Recall: Provide FDA authority to order a mandatory recall of a product if a manufacturer refuses to comply with an FDA request for a voluntary recall;

FDA Cosmetic Ingredient Review: Create an FDA program authorized to review the safety of individual cosmetic ingredients and nonfunctional constituents;

Cosmetic Records Inspection: Allow FDA to inspect a manufacturer’s records if FDA has a reasonable belief that a cosmetic product presents a health threat;

Safety Substantiation: Require manufacturers to substantiate the safety of cosmetic products and ingredients;

Alternatives to Animal Testing: Encourage FDA approval of alternatives to animal testing;

National Program Uniformity: Preempt state and local laws that would duplicate new authorities in FDA regulation of cosmetics; and

Importation: Bar importation of cosmetics produced outside the U.S. where the manufacturing facility or ingredient statement has not been registered with FDA.

Regulators, legislators, nongovernmental organizations, and industry are all on the same side when it comes to modernizing the FDA.

As different approaches are considered, we look forward to continuing to work with partners in the NGO community and leaders in Congress, including Senators Feinstein and Collins, Chairman Alexander, Ranking Member Murray, Chairman Pallone, and Rep. Shimkus, to create a more contemporary regulatory system for the personal care products sector—one that supports FDA’s public health mission, advances safety, innovation, and consumer confidence.