Why Hasn't Congress Taken Toxins Out of Your Cosmetics?

What you need to know isn't very pretty.

Toxic Cosmetics
Jenny Inglee is a Los Angeles-based journalist and the Education Editor at TakePart.

In the last two months, there has been scandal after scandal surrounding lead in popular lipstick brands, mercury in face creams, and dangerous levels of formaldehyde in Brazilian Blowout, a hair straightening product.

Companies are getting away with putting carcinogens in their cosmetics, according to Stacy Malkan, founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, because "the laws on the books are from 1938 and they allow companies to put almost any chemical into personal care products with no safety studies."

Bottom line, she says: "This industry needs to be regulated....people have the right to know what we put on our bodies."

Because of the persistence of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and several other environmental and health groups, Congress is holding its first official hearing on cosmetic safety in more than 30 years. The hearing will take place on Tuesday, March 27.

Stacy says she's happy this hearing is taking place but is not holding her breath. "There is recognition that the 1938 laws have to be updated," she says, "but it has to be done in a way that is meaningful and protects public health—which means banning carcinogens."

You can push for cosmetic legislation that protects your health by writing to the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee members and telling them: We don’t want mercury in our lotions, formaldehyde in hair products and baby shampoos, or lead in our lipstick.

If you're not familiar with what dangers are lurking in your beauty products, check out this infographic:

Fatal Attraction
Created by: CosmetologySchool.org

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