[En Español]

Perfume remains a ‘secretive trade,’ but US cleaner giant moves to transparency.

Posted September 30th, 2014

The Guardian

Amy Westervelt

September 29, 2014

Clorox is working to disclose allergens in its products’ fragrances. Will others will begin to abolish their own ‘trade-secret status,’ or even remove allergens altogether?

Hundreds of years ago, expert perfumers in France would handcraft exotic, top-secret blends to be used in the spritzes, soaps and powders of the world’s elite. In that context, applying trade-secret status to the fragrance industry made a lot of sense. In today’s world – where any company can hire a chemist to reverse engineer their competitor’s fragrance – it has become more a question of consumer protection than intellectual property rights.

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New York City needs to step up nail salon inspections: watchdog.

Posted September 16th, 2014


Sebastien Malo

September 15, 2014

New York City needs to beef up inspections of its 2,000-plus nail salons to ensure that customers are not exposed to health hazards during routine manicures, the city’s top watchdog said on Monday.

Public Advocate Letitia James recommended that the city set up its own team of inspectors to complement a state-led force of 27 who are responsible for an estimated 5,000 salons in New York, from Long Island to the Canadian border.

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Toxic Chemicals Don’t Belong in Feminine Products. Period.

Posted September 16th, 2014

Huffington Post

September 12, 2014

I’m impressed to see all of these fun and empowering ads for tampons and pads lately. From Hello Flo’s viral First Moon Party to P&G’s tear-jerking Like a Girl, these videos are giving the subject of menstruation a lot more serious attention than it used to get. But one topic that still hasn’t been broached is the unpleasant subject of what exactly it is that women are putting into and onto their most sensitive parts with these products.

An analysis by Women’s Voices for the Earth of product labels found at least 20 chemicals of concern in some feminine products. These include: parabens (preservatives linked to endocrine disruption, increased risk of breast cancer, and allergic rash); DMDM Hydantoin, a preservative that releases the carcinogen formaldehyde; and benzethonium chloride, a chemical linked to maternal and embryo toxicity that isn’t supposed to be used on mucous membranes (of which there are many in the vagina).

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Beware of Chemicals in Your Feminine Care Products.

Posted July 23rd, 2014

Dr. Frank Lipman

Britta Aragon

July 17, 2014

Some products have a sort of “halo” around them. We just expect they’ll be made in such a way that we can feel comfortable using them on a daily basis.

Most women consider feminine care products to be in this category. They come near some of the most intimate and fragile parts of our bodies, so surely they’re made of safe ingredients, right?

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What’s in a Toxic Tampon?

Posted July 16th, 2014


April 4, 2014

A groundbreaking report produced last year by Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) detailed how the feminine care industry sells products containing unregulated and potentially harmful chemicals, such as pesticides, preservatives, fragrances and dyes. The report also kicked off a campaign targeting Proctor & Gamble, makers of Tampax and Always, to disclose the ingredients in their tampons and pads.

Now, eight months later, WVE takes a look at those ingredients after acquiring public patent documents held by Proctor & Gamble (U.S. Patent #6,840,927).

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Can fragrance disclosure make a big company smell like a rose?

Posted April 4th, 2014


Cassidy Randall

April 4, 2014

It’s time to get specific about the word “fragrance.” A product’s “fragrance” can be made up of 100 chemicals, and the specific chemicals aren’t disclosed to consumers because they’re currently protected as trade secrets.

But the issue of fragrance disclosure — or lack thereof — has come under increasing public scrutiny in the last few years by sophisticated consumers concerned about chemicals exposure from household products. While several alternative and “green” companies have begun listing the ingredients in their fragrances in response to this demand, there remains a lack of leadership from mainstream cleaning companies in this arena.

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33 recalled ‘toxic’ hair straighteners found to still be on U.S markets.

Posted March 21st, 2014

Cosmetics design.com

March 20, 2014

Michelle Yeomans

New research has revealed thirty-three hair-straightening products containing high levels of formaldehyde to still be on US markets, according to the Women’s Voices for the Earth.

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Danger in the drugstore: what women need to know about cosmetics.

Posted March 14th, 2014

The Guardian

March 13, 2014

Erin Switalski

Conventional wisdom says that what you don’t know can’t hurt you. Unfortunately, that’s not the case when it comes to personal care products and cosmetics.

A study by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics indicates that women use an average of nine personal care products each day, exposing themselves to a mixture of over 100 individual chemicals. In 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that women had significantly higher levels of 10 of the 116 toxic chemicals they tested for than men. Three of the 10 chemicals were phthalates, a group commonly found in health and beauty products and linked to birth defects (PDF). In fact, almost any chemical – including those linked to breast cancer, hormone disruption, reproductive problems, and allergies – can be used in cosmetics.

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A Question for Women’s Health: Chemicals in Feminine Hygiene Products and Personal Lubricants.

Posted March 4th, 2014

Environmental Health Perspectives

March 3, 2014

Nicole Wendee

Vaginal research got a desperately needed boost at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1992. That’s when Penny Hitchcock took over the Sexually Transmitted Diseases Branch at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Nancy Alexander became chief of the Contraceptive Development Branch in the NIH Center for Population Research—posts previously held by men. “Those two got together and discovered NIH had no programs for vaginal research,” says Richard Cone, a Johns Hopkins biophysics professor. Cone had begun developing vaginal contraceptives that would protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in 1980, and until then, struggled to get funding.

Hitchcock and Alexander soon initiated research programs on vaginal physiology, immunology, and microbicides, eventually funding Cone’s work. These new programs led to groundbreaking discoveries in animals and humans that certain chemicals—including glycerin (glycerol), a common base for personal lubricants—can damage or irritate vaginal1 and rectal2 epithelial cells, potentially increasing the transmission of STIs such as herpes and human immunodeficiency virus.

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State cosmetic database focused on chemicals falling short of mission.

Posted February 14th, 2014

San Jose Mercury News

Februrary 12, 2014

Heather Somerville

A widely touted state program to give the public more information about harmful chemicals in cosmetics is falling short of its mission, hobbled by a lack of participation from the cosmetics industry, outdated information and a loophole that lets companies keep their ingredients secret.

Experts say the shortcomings of the California Safe Cosmetics Program Product Database, which went online a month ago, reveal the challenges the state faces in trying to impose transparency on a national $60 billion industry that had been allowed to keep harmful ingredients off product labels.

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