Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) was formed by a group of visionary women leaders in Missoula, Montana in 1995. Seeing that many environmental organizations at the time failed to include women in leadership positions and did not fully recognize the systemic connections between health, class, race, and the environment, WVE sought to create a new environmental organization led by women. The mission of WVE is to eliminate toxic chemicals that harm women’s health by changing consumer behaviors, corporate practices and government policies.
The Story of a Healthy Future
• Moves two of the world’s largest manufacturers of feminine care products — Procter & Gamble and Kimberly Clark — to start disclosing ingredients used in their tampons and pads.
• Releases first of its kind report, Unpacking the Fragrance Industry: Policy Failures, the Trade Secret Myth and Public Health, on the failures of the fragrance industry’s self-regulated safety program.
• Releases the info-graphic “What’s the Delay, FDA?” that juxtaposes the failure of the FDA to recall dangerous hair straightening products with bans from states and the international community.
• Releases Deep Clean: What the Cleaning Industry Should be doing to Protect Your Health a report that rates companies on ingredient transparency and the transparency of their chemical screening process.
• Convinces SC Johnson & Son to disclose all fragrance ingredients down to .09% in their products.
• Releases “Detox the Box” video to highlight toxics in feminine products.
• Works with Representative Maloney (D-NY) to introduce the Robin Danielson Feminine Hygiene Safety Act.
• Tests Procter and Gamble’s Always pads, finding hidden carcinogens, reproductive toxins and neurotoxins.
• Releases Beauty and Its Beast: Unmasking the Impacts of Toxic Chemicals on Salon Workers a report that documents the impact of exposure to toxic chemicals on salon worker health.
• Organizes the third annual Healthy Salons Week of Action in Washington DC, with salon workers, to collectively advocate for increased salon worker health, safety and rights.
• Moves Procter and Gamble to remove the carcinogen 1,4 dioxane from their laundry detergents.
• Releases Secret Scents: How Hidden Fragrance Allergens Harm Public Health, moving Simple Green, Clorox, and Reckitt-Benckiser to agree to disclose hidden allergens in fragrance.
• Releases Chem Fatale: Potential Health Effects of Toxic Chemicals in Feminine Care Products.
• Receives Women’s Empowerment Award from GreatNonprofits.
• Through the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, convinces Johnson & Johnson to phase out chemicals that can cause cancer and harm health from all of its products in 57 countries.
• Releases Dirty Secrets: What’s Hiding in Your Cleaning Products, a report revealing hidden toxic chemicals in top brand name cleaners.
• Convinces FDA and OSHA to issue a warning letter and hazard alert on the formaldehyde-containing Brazilian Blowout.
• Convinces Clorox to disclose all ingredients in their products, including a master list of fragrance ingredients, and to remove synthetic musks.
• Convinces SC Johnson to disclose all ingredients (except fragrance).
• Organizes the Congressional briefing “Toxic Exposures in Salons” in support of the Safe Cosmetics Act.
• Releases What’s That Smell, a report on toxic chemicals in fragrance.
• Convinces Simple Green to remove phthalates & synthetic musks from products.
• Co-releases Not So Sexy on toxic chemicals in leading perfumes and cologne and No Silver Lining on BPA in common canned goods.
• Convinces SC Johnson & Son to remove phthalates and disclose all of the ingredients in their cleaning products on a website.
• Releases Disinfectant Overkill, report on health impacts linked to overuse of disinfectant products.
• Co-releases reports Phasing out the Toxic Trio: a Review of Popular Nail Polish Brands and No More Toxic Tub.
• WVE joins Earthjustice in suing four leading cleaning product manufacturers for failing to comply with a New York law that requires them to disclose the ingredients they use in their products.
• Sets an industry precedent by inﬂuencing the Soap and Detergent Association and the Consumer Specialty Products Association to release an ingredient communication plan.
• Creates WVE’s Green Cleaning Party Kits.
• Releases The Dirt on Cleaning Product Companies, rating companies on their use and disclosure of toxic chemicals in cleaners.
• Releases A Little Prettier, a report on companies’ declining use of phthalates in personal care products & cosmetics with the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
• Co-founds the National Healthy Nail & Beauty Salon Alliance.
• Releases Glossed Over report on toxic chemicals in nail products and health impacts to salon workers.
• Convinces OPI Inc., the largest global manufacturer of nail products for salons, to eliminate several major chemicals of concern from their products.
• Organizes grassroots campaign in MT & ID, to convince supermarket chain, Albertsons Inc., to post visible warnings about mercury contamination in ﬁsh.
• Park County Garbage Incinerator, the last one in MT, closed!
• Boise VA Medical Center idles use of their medical waste incinerator in response to WVE’s grassroots campaign.
• WVE, Coalition for Safe Lab & Friends of the Bitterroot reach settlement with National Institutes of Health on lawsuit regarding BL4 bioterrorism lab in Hamilton, MT. Ensures greater community safety protections.
• Publishes Hardrock Mining: Risks to Community Health
• Co-founds the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition of women’s, public health, labor, environmental health and consumer‐rights groups.
• WVE and others press National Park Service to issue public health advisory due to snowmobile pollution in Yellowstone.
• Nationwide breastmilk study of PBDEs published by EWG – includes two Montana moms.
• Co-releases report, Not Too Pretty, and runs full page ad in the New York Times exposing cosmetics products containing phthalates.
• WVE organizes 120 public viewings of Bill Moyers’ Trade Secrets exposing chemical industry cover-ups.
• MT Legislature passes Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Act sponsored by Rep. Gail Gutsche
• Publishes Breast Cancer: An Unchecked Epidemic.
• WVE Staff Bryony Schwan testifies at EPA’s Science Advisory Board meeting on Dioxin in Washington DC.
• WVE lobbies at United Nations Treaty Negotiations on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS) conference in Johannesburg, South Africa.
• Fort Harrison medical waste incinerator in Helena, MT shuts down days before WVE hosts expert forum on the hazards of incineration.
• WVE and MEIC win precedent setting lawsuit affirming Montanans “fundamental right to a clean and healthful environment”.
• WVE launches campaign on PVC plastic children’s toys.
• WVE Board member Christine Kaufmann and WVE Staff Gail Gutsche elected to MT Legislature.
• Inducted into the Grassroots Hall of Fame.
• Train derailment in Alberton, MT causes 2nd largest chlorine spill in US history. WVE assists evacuees, forming group Alberton Community Evacuees (ACE).
1995 – WVE Founded
• Hosts annual Finding Common Ground: Gender, Justice and the Environment Conference.
Watch WVE’s 15th Anniversary video, 15 Years of Educating and Empowering Women!