Letter to the Editor: Support Safe Cosmetics Act

We are a small personal care company in Sturgeon Bay. For many years we have advocated for safety in cosmetics, and there is some real action in the field right now with new research and a bill on the floor on Congress.

Here’s the problem. Dozens – sometimes even hundreds – of chemicals hide in beauty and personal care products that contain fragrance. Many of these unlabeled fragrance chemicals are linked to cancer, hormone disruption and reproductive harm. How can this be?

No federal or state law checks the safety of fragrance chemicals or requires labeling of fragrance ingredients, or even disclosure to regulatory agencies. The vast and growing $70 billion fragrance industry is entirely unregulated.

Breast Cancer Prevention Partners’ newest report Right to Know: Exposing Toxic Fragrance Chemicals in Beauty, Personal Care and Cleaning Products exposes the extent of this widespread problem. Among the report’s most shocking findings:

  • The most hazardous product of all was a children’s shampoo called “Just for Me,” marketed to kids of color. This product contained 24 chemicals linked to chronic health effects. Most of these fragrance chemicals did not appear on the label.
  • Fragrance chemicals made up three-quarters of the toxic chemicals in the beauty and personal care products we tested.
  • Several of the products that had the most hazardous chemicals were fine fragrances endorsed by popular celebrities.
  • Many personal care products tested contained more hazardous chemicals than cleaning products that were tested.

Fortunately, a new bill introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois) would close the fragrance loophole that lets companies sell products laden containing hidden toxic chemicals without your knowledge or consent!

Rep. Schakowsky’s bill, the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2018, is the only federal cosmetic safety bill that calls for full fragrance ingredient disclosure to consumers and salon workers. The bill also requires supply chain transparency and industry data sharing to address the lack of safety data available for fragrance ingredients. As the report shows, our elected officials can swiftly reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals in personal care products by supporting this bill.

Readers should contact their representatives in support of the Safe Cosmetics Act.


Karen Ciesar, Trillium Herbal Company, Inc.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

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