WASHINGTON – Most personal care products sold on store shelves today are made with chemicals introduced to the market decades ago. The vast majority of those ingredients have not been tested for safety, and many are linked to health hazards.
For more than a decade, the Environmental Working Group has been at the forefront of chemical ingredient disclosure in personal care products, believing that people have the right to know what is in the products they purchase and use every day. The EWG VERIFIED™ program was created to fill the void left by our nation’s antiquated law regulating the cosmetics and personal care products industry, which allows products to enter the marketplace without any testing to show that they are safe.
In a breakthrough move, Procter & Gamble, the world’s biggest maker of both personal care and household cleaning products, has launched two new Herbal Essences shampoos, reformulated to meet EWG’s rigorous criteria for transparency and health and earn the EWG VERIFIED mark.
A new story by Bloomberg News describes how the relationship between P&G and EWG grew from working on cosmetics reform, to learning about the Skin Deep database and EWG VERIFIED program, to the development of these two new hair products.
“Because of Procter & Gamble’s sheer size and market share, these new EWG VERIFIED shampoos could be the domino that triggers similar actions from other companies that have not yet embraced this level of transparency,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “As more information comes out about the harmful impact of some of these chemical ingredients, companies are starting to really listen to consumers who are asking for products made with healthier ingredients. P&G is clearly listening to its customers and working to move the market in the right direction.”
In the absence of cosmetics reform, consumers are leading the charge to reshape the marketplace and demanding to know what chemicals are used in the personal care products they turn to every day.
Great Strides in Transparency
“EWG VERIFIED goes beyond basic ingredient labels to hold companies on the cutting edge of making the healthiest products to an even higher standard,” said Jocelyn Lyle, EWG’s vice president of development. “Our mark will make shopping even easier for overwhelmed consumers who want to quickly find a bottle of shampoo and other personal care products that meet our rigorous standards and that are better for their health.”
Every American has a right to consumer products that are healthier and are less likely to cause harm. It is vital that these products be affordable and available nationwide. The Herbal Essences EWG VERIFIED shampoos are mass-marketed and will be sold by the big box retailers.
“EWG VERIFIED will take awareness about chemicals in products to the next level by giving shoppers useful information from a team of scientists they have come to trust,” said Nneka Leiba, the director of EWG’s healthy living science program. “Only products that include robust ingredient labels and meet our stringent criteria, as opposed to minimal government standards, will be awarded our mark.”
More than 1,350 products carry the EWG VERIFIED mark.
Congress last voted to regulate cosmetics 80 years ago.
EWG started working with Procter & Gamble and other companies in 2014 to advocate for cosmetics reform legislation. Cosmetics companies large and small – including Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Revlon, Estée Lauder, L’Oréal and Unilever – support the legislation, as do many public health groups.
A recent episode of the reality television show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” included footage of Kourtney Kardashian with EWG President Ken Cook on Capitol Hill earlier this year. Kardashian briefed reporters and congressional staffers on the urgent need for reform of the nation’s cosmetics law.
Legislation introduced by Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, and by Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., would give the FDA the power to review controversial chemicals and determine whether those ingredients are safe, safe at certain levels or unsafe. The bills also give the FDA the ability to recall and stop the manufacture of products that pose serious health risks to consumers. The bills also authorize the FDA to collect industry fees to finance the agency’s safety reviews and oversight.
The Herbal Essences shampoos will hit store shelves in January 2019 and be available for sale at Walmart, Target, CVS, Kroger, Dollar General, Meijer, Publix, Walgreens and Amazon.
The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.