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Toxins to Be Pulled from Cosmetics

Three top cosmetics companies announced that they will remove from their products toxic chemicals banned by the European Union. In 2003, the EU banned chemicals known or suspected of causing cancer, mutation, or birth defects from cosmetics sold in EU countries. After a two-year public pressure effort by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, including a full-page ad in USA Today, L'Oréal, Revlon, and Unilever have agreed to remove the EU-banned chemicals from products they sell in the United States and other markets.

    The Food and Drug Administration does not evaluate cosmetic products for safety nor does it regulate cosmetic ingredients. More than 10,000 chemicals are used in cosmetics, many of them linked to health problems and many more that have never been evaluated for health and safety at all, according to Jane Houlihan of the Environmental Working Group.

    The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, an international coalition, is asking companies to sign the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, a pledge to remove EU-banned chemicals immediately and to remove other chemicals of concern and replace them with safe alternatives within three years. So far, 100 companies have signed the compact.

—Stacy Malkan

For a database of chemicals in cosmetics, go to www.ewg.org/reports/skindeep. Find the companies that have signed the compact at www.safecosmetics.org/companies.
Stacy Malkan is communications director for Health Care Without Harm.

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