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 | Public Health

Bill Would Ban 12 Highly Toxic Chemicals

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – On Thursday the California Assembly reintroduced the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act, A.B. 2762. If passed, the law would ban 12 toxic ingredients, such as mercury and formaldehyde, from the beauty and personal care products Californians use every day.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | Public Health

Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act Fails to Pass Out of Assembly Health Committee

“Today the Assembly missed a huge opportunity to protect public health by banning known toxic chemicals from our beauty and personal care products. 

Known toxic chemicals like mercury and formaldehyde have no place in products we put on our face or rub into our skin on a daily basis. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | Public Health

Supporters gathered at the State Capitol today to urge the California Assembly to pass the Toxic Free Cosmetics Act (AB 495)

Supporters gathered at the State Capitol today to urge the California Assembly to pass the Toxic Free Cosmetics Act (AB 495). If passed, the law, which will face its first key vote tomorrow, would ban such toxic ingredients as lead, mercury and formaldehyde from the beauty and bodycare products Californians use every day. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health

Statement: FDA fails to fully protect kids from nicotine addiction

The Food and Drug Administration issued a policy today that would take many flavors of cartridge-based e-cigarettes such as Juul temporarily off the market due to their appeal to kids.

> Keep Reading
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

Pages

News Release | CALPIRG | Public Health

Supporters gathered at the State Capitol today to urge the California Assembly to pass the Toxic Free Cosmetics Act (AB 495)

Supporters gathered at the State Capitol today to urge the California Assembly to pass the Toxic Free Cosmetics Act (AB 495). If passed, the law, which will face its first key vote tomorrow, would ban such toxic ingredients as lead, mercury and formaldehyde from the beauty and bodycare products Californians use every day. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health

Statement: FDA fails to fully protect kids from nicotine addiction

The Food and Drug Administration issued a policy today that would take many flavors of cartridge-based e-cigarettes such as Juul temporarily off the market due to their appeal to kids.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health

CDC estimates at least 35,000 die from drug-resistant infections annually

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its new Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States report, which estimates at least 35,000 Americans die annually from infections that antibiotics can no longer effectively treat.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | Public Health

Calif. Regulators Move To Reduce Lead in Drinking Water at Child Care Centers

SACRAMENTO – State regulators announced steps on Wednesday to reduce the risks of lead exposure faced by young children in day care facilities across California. In a public hearing, the State Water Resources Control Board agreed to adopt a goal of reducing lead in centers’ drinking water to no more than 1 part per billion, or ppb. The board’s decision represents the toughest action in the country to date on this issue.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | Public Health

EPA Fails to Protect Children's Health with Proposed Update to Lead and Copper Rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just released its long-awaited proposal to update the federal Lead and Copper Rule.

Laura Deehan, Public Health Advocate for CALPIRG released the following statement in response:

 
"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has squandered the opportunity to protect children's health in their new proposal to update the lead and copper rule. In the first update in nearly 30 years, the EPA had an obligation to protect children and communicate to the country that there is no safe level of lead."

> Keep Reading

Pages

Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Weak Medicine

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria infect more than 2 million people per year in the United States, causing more than 23,000 deaths. State governments, the FDA and other branches of the federal government should take steps to protect human health from the antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can develop on factory farms.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG | Public Health

Ending the Abuse of Antibiotics in Livestock Production

Over 70% of antibiotics in classes used in human medicine are sold for use in food animals.  This is typically done to increase the speed at which animals gain weight or to prevent disease caused by unhealthy and unsanitary conditions.

   

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG | Public Health

CALPIRG Supports State Bill to Limit Use of Antibiotics in Farm Animals

Since they were developed in the 1940s, antibiotics have been one of the most important tools in modern medicine to protect our health.

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

Comments on the Blue Shield of California Proposal to Increase Small Employer Health Insurance Rates, Effective July 1, 2013.

After analysis of the complete filing – inclusive of the three subsequent submissions – it appears that for the most part, Blue Shield provided sufficient background data for the requested rate increase. However, we note that it took repeated requests for Blue Shield to provide the information necessary to justify the rate increase.

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Prescription for Danger

New report shows that compounding pharmacies have been exploiting loopholes in the regulatory system for at least a decade.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Blog Post | Public Health, Antibiotics

Why does agribusiness keep overusing antibiotics? Consider 'Pig Zero.'

"Don't wait for Pig Zero," declared the poster, featuring a pig peeking through a giant blue zero, that appeared at last year's swine industry trade show.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

Study finds weed killer in beer and wine

The last thing you want to think about when you pour yourself a glass of wine or a cold beer is whether it contains even small levels of a potentially carcinogenic weed killer.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

HOW SAFE IS OUR FOOD? NOT SAFE ENOUGH, SAYS PIRG CONSUMER WATCHDOG TEAM, AND IT'S TRENDING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION

Unsafe food recalls in the U.S. are trending the wrong way. From 2013 to 2017, they rose 10 percent overall, and a whopping 83 percent for the most hazardous meat and poultry recalls.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

Home Depot misses deadline to get toxic paint strippers off store shelves

Dozens of people have died. Yet in January, Home Depot was still selling the products that led to their deaths.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Blog Post | Public Health

Home Depot misses deadline to get toxic paint strippers off store shelves

Dozens of people have died. Yet in January, Home Depot was still selling the products that led to their deaths.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

Which stores make the grade for getting toxic chemicals off the shelves?

Out of the 40 largest retailers in North America, 19 lack any public policy to address toxic chemicals in the products found on their shelves.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

Water in half of San Francisco Unified School District tested positive for lead

We've visualized the lead problem in San Francisco schools, and the picture is an alarming one.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

California protects its youngest: Law requires day care centers to test for lead in water

The lives and futures of more than 600,000 California children will soon get a little healthier.

> Keep Reading

Pages

News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund

SACRAMENTO- As California schools consider best practices for reopening in the fall, they must address the fact that too many have found unacceptable levels of lead in their drinking water. CALPIRG Education Fund released an updated interactive map with results reported from schools. More than 2,100 school drinking water fountains tested positive for lead at 1,300 schools in the state over the past three years, according to a new analysis by CALPIRG Education Fund.

News Release | CALPIRG

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Today, the California Assembly passed the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act, A.B. 2762, by a resounding bipartisan vote of 54:0. If enacted, the law would be the first in the nation to ban 12 toxic ingredients, including mercury and formaldehyde, from the beauty and personal care products Californians use every day. 

Blog Post

With salons closed in recent months as part of sheltering-in-place efforts, I’ve found myself doing more self-care at home -- from pedicures to Zoom make-overs with friends. Digging through my bathroom cabinet to find supplies, an important question dawned on me: Can I be sure the makeover products are safe?

Blog Post

To keep the sickest people alive during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we need ventilators. We don’t have them — and that says something about our priorities.

Public Health

Responding to the COVID crisis

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.

 

Public Health

Shut down, start over, do it right

CALPIRG and top health experts delivered a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom, urging him to shut the state back down and start over with new policies to thwart COVID-19. The letter calls for stay-at-home restrictions to slow the virus as well as increased testing capacity and production of personal protective equipment.

 

Public Health

More than 1,000 schools in California report lead in drinking water

More than 2,100 drinking water fountains in California schools have tested positive for lead, according to new analysis from CALPIRG Education Fund. CALPIRG is calling for increased funding to get the lead out of drinking water in schools across California.

 

Public Health

San Diego has a new plan to get the lead out of 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. 

 
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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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