You guys may have seen this news last week: California toxicologists tested a bunch of those supposedly “toxin-free” nail polishes… and found out that they’re actually toxin-full, as I’m reporting on Slate’s xxFactor blog today.
Hmm, what does this remind us of? If you said Brazilian Blowout (or lead in lipstick or carcinogens in baby shampoo or…) give yourself a high five.
The bottom line: Unhealthy chemicals keep appearing in beauty and personal care products where they ought not to be — even those that are labeled otherwise. This is why we need chemical policy reform in this country. This is especially why the beauty industry needs tighter regulations. And this is most definitely why the beauty industry cannot be allowed to police itself — which is how the current system works (or rather, doesn’t) and what the industry is pushing for now with a new bill in Congress that is just a whole bunch of lip service.
As most of you know, I got my start on this whole beauty critique beat with a story on the terrible working conditions in nail salons, which ran in The Nation in 2007. At the time, it felt like such a victory that activists had persuaded OPI, Essie and other big brands to reformulate their products. And when San Francisco passed its Healthy Nail Salon Recognition ordinance, I thought we were really getting somewhere.
But as long as beauty brands are allowed to put products on salon shelves without pre-market safety testing, full disclosure of their ingredient list or even honest product labels, salon workers and consumers are going to be at risk.
Full story over on Slate’s xxFactor. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. And if you’d like to get involved in the fight for safer cosmetics laws, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics would love you to write to the House’s Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, which is currently reviewing the new legislation.