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Pledge to be Toxic-Free
PLEDGE TO BE TOXIC-FREE — We should be able to trust that the products we buy are safe — especially ones our families use every day, directly on our bodies. That’s why we’re calling on major personal care product companies to pledge to go toxic-free.
We should be able to trust that the products we buy are safe — especially ones our families use every day, directly on our bodies.
We’ve looked into it, however, and discovered that when we shampoo our hair or wash our hands, we’re likely dosing our bodies with chemicals that can disrupt our hormones, cause developmental problems, and even cause cancer.
Daily exposure to chemicals of concern
Companies are allowed to put nearly any chemical they want into the products we use every day, despite the fact that the government doesn’t test those chemicals for safety or require any pre-market approval. As a result, we’ve seen formaldehyde in baby shampoo, phthalates in cosmetics, and more, as small amounts of chemicals of concern have become far too common in many products.
Exposure to chemicals is especially a concern when it comes to personal care products — things like hand soap, shampoo, lotion, baby wipes, shaving gel, and toothpaste — because we put them directly on our skin on a regular basis, where they can be absorbed or breathed in. On average, women use about a dozen of these products every day, and men use about six. In fact, the average person in the U.S. is exposed to more than 100 different chemicals from personal care products before they leave the house every morning.
Manufacturers also don't have to disclose what chemicals make up a product's "fragrance." This means consumers are left not knowing whether a product contains any of hundreds of chemicals of concern, like phthalates and styrene, because it’s typically claimed as a trade secret.
Photos by Shutterstock users Lukas Gojda & Monticello.
These exposures, even in very small amounts, can add up over time, and doctors warn of serious health risks as a result. That’s both dangerous and unnecessary. And this problem is especially urgent for the most vulnerable among us—babies and children—whose bodies are much more susceptible to the doses of chemicals coming from products all around us. There’s no reason we should have to risk our health or that of our children every time we brush our teeth or put on deodorant.
That’s why we’re calling on major personal care product companies to pledge to be toxic-free.
Safe alternatives are possible and profitable
Just about everyone uses personal care products, and no one wants to get cancer—or any of the other negative health effects linked to chemicals in many of these products. So why let companies profit by exposing you to chemicals that aren’t proven safe, when they could make your favorite products without them?
Consumer demand has already started to move some companies to go toxic-free, and has helped contribute to the growth of an $11 billion safe cosmetics industry. For example, Johnson & Johnson has begun to remove certain chemicals from their products, showing that this is possible and profitable. And The Honest Company, founded on a commitment to make healthy products that don’t contain chemicals of concern, has skyrocketed to a valuation of $1.7 billion within its first three years.
If enough of us raise our voices, the rest of the industry will follow their lead. Pressure from consumers, public calls for change in the media, and shareholder demands will create the right conditions for major personal care product manufacturers such as Unilever, L’Oreal, and Procter & Gamble to respond by removing toxics from their products and disclosing all ingredients in their fragrances.
We can't afford to wait to take action
Cancer kills. Developmental problems needlessly make lives more difficult. Reproductive dysfunction brings pain and heartbreak. The list goes on. We are all exposed to the invisible threat of toxic chemicals from products in our daily lives, increasing our risk for these devastating illnesses.
We can immediately reduce the amount of chemicals we carry in our bodies by shopping for products that don’t contain toxic chemicals, but we can only solve the larger problem by getting these chemicals out of the supply chain — and that’s where personal care product manufacturers are in the best place to protect us.
When manufacturers pledge to be toxic-free, we can all rest assured that our favorite products aren’t increasing our risk of cancer, or a host of other life-altering health problems. We will be able to bathe our children and protect them from the sun with the peace of mind that we can trust what’s in our products — and without having to research a laundry list of 7-syllable ingredients. We can eliminate toxic chemicals in personal care products — and have one less thing to worry about when we get ready for the day.
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Statement from CALPIRG Public Health Advocate, Laura Deehan about San Diego Unified School Districts New Plan to Address Lead in School Drinking Water
In a victory for children's health, San Diego Unified School District will no longer allow lead in school drinking water at levels greater than 1 part per billion — the same actionable level recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. CALPIRG applauds this measure to protect kids from the harmful effects of lead exposure.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, now more than ever, we need to work together to ensure that our government has a coordinated, strategic response to safeguard the public’s health, protect consumers from emerging dangers and ensure people can still participate fully in our democracy.
Too often, the personal care products we use every day contain toxic ingredients — and California just passed up a big opportunity to do something about it. The California Assembly failed to pass the Toxics Free Cosmetics Act (AB 495) out of the health committee in late January, which would have banned the toxic ingredients found in many of our everyday products, including lead, mercury, formaldehyde and asbestos.
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Tools & Resources
Campaign for Lead-Free SchoolsCALPIRG Education Fund
CALPIRG Education Fund
CALPIRG Education Fund
Public Comment in Support of Proposal to List Chlorpyrifos as a Toxic Air Contaminant
Dove: Pledge to be Toxic-Free
We should know whether the products we use on our bodies are safe. Tell Dove to be a leader and Pledge to be Toxic-Free.
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