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.

Issue updates

News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Transportation

New report outlines how electric school buses could speed California’s transition to clean electric grid

A new report examines how the transition to electric school buses, in addition to keeping diesel exhaust out of kids' developing lungs, could help speed up the expansion of clean energy by providing a critical source of reliable battery storage.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

Explainer: What are toxic PFAS ‘forever chemicals,’ and how do they affect our health? | Aaron Colonnese

The more these chemicals are used, the more they build up and the bigger the threat they pose.

> Keep Reading

Pages

News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Transportation

New report outlines how electric school buses could speed California’s transition to clean electric grid

A new report examines how the transition to electric school buses, in addition to keeping diesel exhaust out of kids' developing lungs, could help speed up the expansion of clean energy by providing a critical source of reliable battery storage.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Transportation

Statement: CALIFORNIA’S KIDS BREATHE EASIER: GOV. NEWSOM PROPOSES FUNDING FOR UP TO 5000 NEW ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUSES

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Monday a proposal to invest $1.5 billion to support school transportation programs, which could fund as many as 5000 electric school buses.

> Keep Reading

Statement: Johnson & Johnson recalls sunscreen products after tests detect carcinogens

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. said Wednesday it’s voluntarily recalling all lots of five types of Neutrogena and Aveeno aerosol sunscreen after internal testing showed “low levels of benzene” -- which can cause cancer -- in some samples. J&J also said consumers should stop using the sunscreen.

> Keep Reading

Statement: Johnson & Johnson recalls sunscreen products after tests detect carcinogens

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. said Wednesday it’s voluntarily recalling all lots of five types of Neutrogena and Aveeno aerosol sunscreen after internal testing showed “low levels of benzene” -- which can cause cancer -- in some samples. J&J also said consumers should stop using the sunscreen.

> Keep Reading
News Release | US PIRG | Public Health, Consumer Protection

Statement: Beech-Nut to stop selling some rice cereal over arsenic concerns

Beech-Nut will stop selling all single grain rice cereal after Alaska state officials discovered high arsenic levels during routing sampling, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) said in a statement released Tuesday.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Result | Public Health

Strictest Antibiotics Standards In The Nation

In October 2015, after widespread calls for action from our members and allies, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation into law that—for the first time ever in the United States—sets comprehensive limits on the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in meat production in California. The law is a big step toward protecting the efficacy of life-saving antibiotics needed for human use and sets an example for other states to follow.

> Keep Reading
Result | Public Health

California Enacts Strict Standards for Antibiotic Use on Livestock

In October 2015 Governor Jerry Brown today signed CALPIRG-backed legislation by Senator Jerry Hill that for the first time ever sets comprehensive limits on the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in meat production in the U.S. The law will help protect the efficacy of antibiotics needed for human use.

> Keep Reading
Result | Public Health

KIDS’ SCHOOL LUNCHES NOW SAFER

For years, America’s schoolchildren have been eating beef, chicken and other foods that would have been rejected as substandard even by fast food chains. Thanks in part to our advocacy, the U.S.D.A. has stopped buying such low-quality meat for school lunches.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips, Public Health

LOOKING INWARD

We surveyed nearly 1,000 personal care products from 26 popular cosmetics companies and scored them on ingredient safety and disclosure. The major takeaway: most companies need to do a lot more to inform their customers about what ingredients are in their products.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund, Frontier Group | Public Health, Transportation

Transform Transportation

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Californians parked their cars and stayed home, leading to a significant drop in air pollution and carbon emissions. One year later, we are nearly back to pre-pandemic levels of traffic and driving, and the dangerous impacts for public health and our environment have returned as well. 

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Superfund Underfunded

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Chain Reaction V

The Chain Reaction V report grades the top fast food and fast casual chanins on antibiotic use policies for their beef supply chains. 

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Get The Lead Out

Our children need safe drinking water – especially at school where they go to learn and play each day.  Unfortunately, lead is contaminating drinking water at schools and pre-schools across the country. As our report shows, states are failing to make the grade when it comes to keeping lead out of drinking water at school.  Instead of waiting for more testing, we need to proactively remove the lead pipes and plumbing at the root of this toxic hazard for our children.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Blog Post | Public Health, Antibiotics

Superbugs Unplugged: PIRG launches podcast about antibiotic resistance

Get ready for some alarming stories—and they're all the more alarming because they're true.

On Nov. 14, U.S. PIRG and the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center (ARAC) of George Washington University launched "Superbugs Unplugged," a podcast that will dive into the alarming issue of antibiotic resistance and how we can slow it. Matt Wellington, our Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics campaign director, is co-hosting the podcast, along with Dr. Lance Price of ARAC. 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

$150 million could help California schools get the lead out

We know that exposure to lead can affect how our children learn, think and behave. Yet every day, California kids go to schools where the drinking water is contaminated by lead.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

Kids are back at school. How do we make sure their water is safe to drink?

It's not just Flint or Newark. Parents and teachers are concerned about lead in drinking water throughout the country. And they're looking for steps they can take to get the lead out.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health, Antibiotics

These lawmakers are urging the EPA to protect our life-saving medicines

U.S. lawmakers have sent a blunt message to the Trump Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Spraying antibiotics on citrus will "escalate [the] antibiotic resistance crisis."

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

Amazon: Take responsibility for unsafe products

Most of us expect that the products we buy in stores are safe to use. It turns out that's not always the case with Amazon. 

> Keep Reading

Pages

News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund

A new report examines how the transition to electric school buses, in addition to keeping diesel exhaust out of kids' developing lungs, could help speed up the expansion of clean energy by providing a critical source of reliable battery storage.

Blog Post

The more these chemicals are used, the more they build up and the bigger the threat they pose.

Public Health

Gas stoves are even worse for health and climate than previously thought

We're urging Best Buy, the third-largest appliance retailer in the U.S., to better inform its customers about the health risk of gas stoves. New research shows that children living in homes with gas cooking have a 24% higher chance over their lifetime of being diagnosed with asthma.

 

Public Health

CALPIRG's new toolkit will help schools Get the Lead Out

Now that California has the funds to get the lead out of children's drinking water, we distributed a toolkit to help leaders use $200 million lead exposures from school drinking water.

 

Public Health

Gov. Newsom signs CALPIRG-backed bill to create nation's strictest lead limits

Californians will soon have less lead in their drinking water after Gov. Newsom signed CALPIRG-backed lead leaching limits into law. These new restrictions are the strictest in the country and will help address the health problems caused by the heavy metal.

 

Public Health

Victory! CALPIRG-backed bill to strengthen lead restrictions clears state Senate

For years, California has failed to address lead in school drinking water. But our leaders have a chance to change that and protect the health of our children by passing a CALPIRG-backed ban on the sale of water faucets and fixtures that leach excess lead.

 
View AllRSS Feed

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.

Support Us

Your donation supports CALPIRG’s work to stand up for consumers on the issues that matter, especially when powerful interests are blocking progress.

Consumer Alerts

Join our network and stay up to date on our campaigns, get important consumer updates and take action on critical issues.
Optional Member Code



CALPIRG is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.