Thursday, March 4, 2010

Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act Failed!

Keeping You Up To Date

Well, on Monday March 1st, 2010, I spent 5 hours listening to live testimony given to the House Judiciary Committee in Colorado. There were proponents and opponents of the bill both making their side known. Fortunately those against the bill provided sound science to substantiate why this bill was not making the right statement in regard to personal care product manufacturers. The new law, in effect, would allow the European Union to dictate what we can and cannot use in products sold in Colorado. Myself and fellow formulators waited with bated breath as they began to poll the legislators, literally counting each vote on my fingers. Thankfully this bill was defeated with a vote of 7 to 4 opposed.

As a manufacturer of mineral cosmetics and organic botanical skincare, it has always been my goal since our inception to provide the safest mineral cosmetics and skincare to our customers. I am fully aware of harmful toxic chemicals and what they mean to our health and our environment. We simply don't use these in our products and will always keep an eye on the research of sound science to make sure we continue with this goal.

For those that survived cancer and told their stories, my heart goes out to them and for them their stories are important. I unfortunately also lost my mother to bladder cancer in '83. As fate would have it, she contracted a very rare form of the disease and nothing worked to abate it. This form of cancer was linked to her many years of smoking cigarettes and possibly her consumption of alcohol. She went from diagnosis in October '82 to passing away in May of '83. I watched my mother have her organs replaced with prosthetics in this short time and get sick from radiation treatments. Chemo was not in the cards for this cancer so she did not endure the suffering from this. So I know the pain one endures when they lose someone close to them as I lived with it personally. She never got to see her grandchildren grow up and become the great people they are today. Out of a deep and cherished love for her, I named my daughter after her when she was born 2 years after her death.

Making Our Own Decisions

I believe in education with accurate science, not educated guesses.

I believe we should all have the freedom to make our own choices, including those that may not be good for us unless it impedes on others rights to remain healthy.

An extreme example of irrefutable sound science is second hand smoke. Researched Data from the American Cancer Society

This picture depicts the harsh reality of what contributes to many chronic ailments and what some choose to do with their bodies even at the expense of the unborn or others in proximity to them. Second hand smoke is linked to chronic ailments like bronchitis, excessive colds, allergies, lung disease (cancer), heart disease, lack of pneumonia resistance, most of which I personally suffered from as a child and well into my adult years.

Now throughout the nation, cigarettes are banned from being smoked indoors in public and work places for the most part in order to protect others who do not wish their health to be affected by another who has the freedom to choose what they put into their bodies. Force versus choice is always relevant when it comes to our own personal health and why education is key to making those sound choices, whether they are the right ones, is and should be left up to the individual.

Alcohol is linked to liver damage, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and fetal alcohol syndrome.

My Freedom To Choose: With educating myself on the dangers of the side effects these cause, I therefore do not smoke and occasionally have a couple of drinks around the holidays, or a glass of wine at dinner which again doctors say, red wine is heart healthy when used in moderation.

My mother smoked and I and nobody else could stop her from doing it...she knew the harm they caused, but made her choice and to date manufacturers of cigarettes are not banned in any state of this nation or over in Europe despite sound evidence in support of the health risks.

On the other side of this coin my father is still alive and well, age 87, and has smoked and drank his entire adult life, only stopping smoking when my mother passed at age 59, although he continues to enjoy his evening cocktails.

Why did my mother get cancer and my father didn't, both living a similar lifestyle?..... Mutation of cells and predisposition to cancer, whether genetic or not, is a complex one. Yet Colorado wanted to ban certain ingredients including those with potential trace elements completely, showing zero tolerance, yet these same ingredients have allowable uses even under the EU Cosmetics Directive. This bill went beyond regulation, it was about controlling our freedom to choose.

The Players In The Game

Now as this was live I did my level best to keep track of what everyone was saying and I tweeted about it on my twitter stream with others that were listening in order to keep notes. However, I will update this article in the event I have taken anything out of context or misrepresented either side.

Testifying against the bill were Cindy Jones of Sagescript Institute, the Personal Care Products Council (one of whose representatives was once the head of the FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors) Dr Adamson, Candidate Jerell Klaver, Elissa Klaver of Salus, a representative of Vitamin Cottage retail store chain, Estee Lauder, Procter and Gamble and Johnson and Johnson.

Testifying for the bill were Susan Roll, Vice Chair of the Women’s Lobby of Colorado and a founding member of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Dr. David Norris (alongside Ms. Roll), Sarah Johnson of Serjj Organics, Rita Bellino of Queen B Spa, the Autism Society of Colorado and a registered neonatal care nurse which interrupted our time of testimony due to her needing to leave the meeting. Fairly, however, the committee allotted our side additional time to offset the interruption.

It has been argued by CFSC that they did not play a role in creating this bill and were only there to testify on behalf of the Womens Lobby and Dianne Primavera...Now I say "really?" Please note Susan Rolls positions above. Common sense dictates otherwise! Furthermore they have been asked in emails to clarify their position and refute the literature and promotion of this bill as presented on the Womens Lobby of Colorado website.....we are still waiting for their response. And I expect we will continue to wait which is their common practice when confronted with truth.

Why This Bill Failed

First Point: Dianne Primavera wanted this passed and to become law based on erring on the side of caution. She felt it would be best to create consumer protection laws as a precaution based on "what if" standards, even though they could not substantiate this reasoning with any sound science. I will provide testimony that was given, later in this article. But basically in a nut shell, all scientists agreed that there is no sound science dictating that any one substance causes cancer or creates reproductive issues.

Again what makes most of the science flawed is what I have stated time and again that it is conducted in animal research, mainly rats and mice, exposing them to full strength high dose oral ingestion or through injection under the skin. And again, no one is eating cosmetics or injecting them past our protective layer of skin. As I stated earlier this bill was geared toward allowing the EU to mandate what substance was safe or unsafe when being used in Colorado. Dianne Primavera was addressed by her fellow legislators in regard to this and she skirted their questions many times until she finally was pressed to give them the bottom line. She wanted the European Union and one of the “authorities” listed in the bill to determine what substances were toxic.

Needless to say this bothered many of the legislators and in particular Rep. Gardner. He wondered why this bill was before them today and why other entities aren't involved like the Dept. of Health. Plus he didn't like the fact that we have no representation within the EU so why would we allow them to have power of decisions being made in Colorado in regard to regulation of our personal care products. This point of fact bewildered me as well.

Second Point: It created a private right of action for Colorado consumers to bring suit against cosmetics manufacturers without presenting a basic cause of action for personal injury. So essentially even if you were not harmed by a certain ingredient or even used the product, you could simply pull something from the shelf and sue based on the notion they have an ingredient, whether in trace amounts of another or actually as a listed ingredient.

This was the lottery ticket I wrote of in my previous article. Lawyers and litigants could sue manufacturers, and this would clearly have become an abuse of our court systems as this bill allowed for exploitation of the principals to the fullest extent the law would allow. An attorney briefly spoke and stated that this type of action is unconstitutional and some of the lawmakers also seemed troubled that without injury we could sue just on the basis of how this bill defined it.

One legislator, Representative Gardner (who is also an attorney and still practices law) made the point in a facetious manner, which I loved...... He basically stated that the law created a way for him to grow his law practice by pulling cosmetics off the shelf, doing his own testing and then suing the companies whose products tested for any of the substances prohibited by the law, and he wouldn’t need a client or injury to do so.....Yep....that pretty much summed it up. If this bill weren't so damaging and the hardship this would impose on manufacturers, this would actually be quite humorous.

Third Point: Many of the lawmakers posed questions to determine what trace amounts meant under this bill. It basically was stating, that even the most minute trace molecule of what was on the list for banned ingredients could prevent a skincare product from being sold in the state. Trace amounts can occur as a natural byproduct of another perfectly safe ingredient, such as a fruit extract or essential oil. And scientists on both sides of this issue agreed that due to the improvements to our scientific processes of collecting data that trace elements can be found in anything, if we look for it hard enough.

Example 1: Lead is in our soil naturally and can be found in our water so if you grow your botanicals in soil or irrigate them with water, then a trace element of lead could be found theoretically in the product which a botanical ingredient is used.

Example 2: You can have a snack of apples, bananas, bilberries, cherries, citrus fruits, cranberries, grapes, olives, passionfruit, peaches, plums, strawberries, raspberries, carrots, celery, cucumbers, garlic, onions, peas, potatoes and tomatoes, but you can't grind these up and use them in a facial mask because they contain Acetaldehyde naturally.........So bye bye fruit extracts...... But again to clarify this is only in trace amount and the benefits of antioxidants and anti-mutagens far outweighs this risk. That is why your doctor says eat your fruits and veggies for staving off diseases. So you can eat it but you can't use it on your anyone seeing how inane this is yet?

Example 3: Many of your favorite essential oils contain trace levels of Methyleugenol. Yet for centuries they have been used in ancient and holistic medicine for their healing benefits because they are non-carcinogenic, and also provide anti-carcinogenic properties.

Dr. Norris speaking on behalf of the proponents on this bill stated that a trace element of a specific molecule cannot be pinpointed or from where it came from..... quote, unquote: "a molecule is a molecule." So to determine the trace element is actually from a skincare product or the glass of wine we had with dinner, was ambiguous at best and helped make our argument for us. And based on the definition of a trace element in this bill, this put us all at risk of being legislated right out of the market. Even the EU allows for trace elements realizing they are a natural derivative of other ingredients, yet this bill would not allow it in any amount, which is overstepping the EU Guidelines.

Fourth Point: Other legislators also posed valid questions into "why are we targeting cosmetics and not the lunch or water I drank today?" All relevant, and the argument that I have been making from day one. Just on this simple fact alone, they could not bring themselves to support something which had no scientific data showing that a disease may have come from bad food or air or water we consume daily. As much as we would like to try, some illnesses cannot be explained, and why we get cancer or any other malady is simply not black and white.

Campaign For Safe Cosmetics Susan Roll Testimony In Part

I listened intently to her testimony and fortunately she reinforced what I have been trying to educate my customers and readers on, that there simply is not the science to prove personal care products are doing the harm CFSC claims. Testimony as follows:

"I’ve been involved in this David vs Goliath fight for a long time. When the EU came up with the directive we thought it would be beneficial to us, with American products conforming to the standards, but it was not the case."

"I'll tell you I'm not a scientist. I'm actually a social worker so I'm reading what you're reading and also trying to make some 'um' educated guesses about it, 'um' when we have chemicals that cause tumors in rats I think that it is okay to say we don't want those chemicals in consumer products. Do we have evidence that they are causing mammary tumors in humans?...... No, we just don't have that yet. We are not that far with the science....I wish I could say more. I wish I knew more of the science. I wish we had more science...I would just say that I think we have enough of the science that we need to make some steps towards safety."

When asked if she had a list of what ingredients were actually added to a cosmetic versus what is naturally occurring she answered, "I don't know."

When asked by Rep. Gardner as to how do we make a decision without knowing what these toxins are or how they are determined to pose a health risk, she responded, "We can't wait for the science..if we wait for the "good" science we are going to be sick. I believe we should err on the side of caution to prevent further harm to the public."

"We don’t have the smoking gun, but in Europe they are moving forward anyway," she added.

"I also believe that once we pass this bill that manufacturers will work toward changing their formulas since they will be forced to comply. Our Compact Signers are in support of this bill and are working toward making better products."

Susan Roll was also asked if she could show the lawmakers of what she referred to as her proof, and she was not able to. She basically cited from websites which may or may not have convoluted data in support of the CFSC theories, but actually did not or could not provide any data to make her argument. She based her facts on anecdotal evidence for the most part and made claims that certain manufacturers have already changed their formulas to accommodate EU's restrictions. However, in testimony given on our side by the heavy hitters, they refuted any claim that their formulas were different than what they sell in the U.S.

Telling The Truth

Now I know the issue on the signers being in full support of this bill as a complete fabrication because I was once a signer also as were many I have been in contact with, and they were not in support of this bill, some were, but many weren't or were not even privy to this being in play. As I have said before, CFSC has been astroturfing to create support through a misconception that if you are a signer you will benefit under their guidelines and help their businesses grow, and in some way make their products appear to be superior to their competitors. CFSC however, after observing them these past several years, are really using their numbers to show proof that the tide is swinging toward all natural, chemical free products for making their argument.

Also Sirjj Organics, another proponent of the bill, believed as conveyed through testimony, her products were exempt from this bill somehow. However Rep. Gardner put a valid question to her since some of her sourced ingredients came in from Africa....... could her ingredients quite possibly have these trace elements that would be banned under the current bill? To which she replied, "I trust my suppliers and no I don't believe they would be!" I can only assume she either doesn't fully comprehend the bill, hasn't read it, or is buying into CFSC propaganda. Has she tested her ingredients to substantiate this case in point?....... Doubtful!..... and in fact their products would be banned under the new law because these otherwise safe natural ingredients can and do have these trace elements in question occurring naturally.

The Damage They May Have Caused To Their Movement

The tide may be moving the way of organics and all natural, but not under the guise of relinquishing control based on outside pressure from CFSC of how I do business or what I choose to use in my mineral makeup and skincare products. Education is vital and can be located easily and readily in the age of the internet. It allows a person to do the research, learn the pros and cons of a decision, determine what is fact versus fiction and make their own decisions by voting with their dollar. But to mandate control over my products and remove consumerism as it is today, is unconstitutional.

The repercussions from what the CFSC attempted to do by supporting damaging legislation through the back door so to speak, has caused a defecting of more small cosmetic manufacturers demanding their name be removed from the campaign. I have also heard from customers within the Colorado area moving their support from another business in that state and coming to us because as consumers they also don't want to be told what they can and cannot buy. And the businesses in support of this have lost probably some very loyal customers. But I am sure they have gained some as well since there are two sides to every issue. To continue......

So based on conjecture, supposition and "educated" guesses the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics feels they can dictate what ingredients are safe for us to use by removing an individuals personal choice on what they wished to use on their own body through legislation, believing that only the government knows what is best for us.

This entity is extremely flawed and though perhaps well intentioned in the beginning as they gathered our signatures, they have now turned into a ruling authority utilizing political powers, dictating whether or not our products are toxic or that we may use toxic ingredients, and then instill fear in compact signers, they will be removed from the data base if they don't comply.

These tactics are slowly eroding the foundation they were built on and I along with many in our industry, who have defected, and have seen the truth behind their agenda, are coordinating our efforts to attempt to undue the damage they have caused with their irrational thinking and illegitimate research.

This is the Colorado News Agency report following the days events: Lawmakers say science doesn’t support ban on notions, potions

In Closing

I look forward to continuing to further educate myself and continue my unrelenting research so I may discover the latest scientific evidence if it should ever arise. For now, I will not be motivated by hype or fear inducing rhetoric devoid of irrefutable sound data, in changing any of my already quite safe and painstakingly created skincare products and mineral cosmetics.

I have researched every one of our ingredients with great care and have written articles on some in order to keep my customers involved on what we produce and to engage in conversations with them when needed. You will find all of our ingredients listed on the website under each product. We disclose every single ingredient, including our essential oil blends and do not try to protect them under the guise of proprietary information.

My personal belief is, a person must know what essential oils are being used in order to protect themselves from the potential of reaction or allergy. As with all ingredients used in skincare and cosmetics, some oils are benign, but others may cause a skin reaction. Some essential oils should not be used and then go out into the sun since they create photo-sensitivity of the skin. This alone should make the argument to disclose fully in order to protect my customers.

All of our packaging lists our formulations in their entirety and our labeling procedures are FDA compliant.

Again thank you for your support and for allowing sound science to be the rule of the day, and for taking time out of your busy day to read this article.

Take Care and have a great weekend! Now back to our regularly scheduled program of enjoying my business and continuing to create our excellent products. Maybe I'll whip up a decadent chocolate that sounds yummy!

Oh, by the way...can you believe that even cocoa butter, an ingredient in chocolate (known for its' antioxidant properties) could have been banned under this defeated bill? We can eat it, but we better not put it on our there's some food for thought!


Related Article: Oppose The Safe Personal Care Products Act

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  1. Well put Katherine. The American Institute for Cancer Research estimates that 60% of cancer risk can be reduced with increased consumption of fruits/vegetables, exercise and stopping smoking. The CFSC lost all hope of being credible when coffee was found on one of their lists of carcinogens, something most of us are completely willing to risk drinking each day.

  2. Good point Cindy....I love coffee and I will snatch myself bald headed if anyone seeks to remove caffeine from my tiny little grasp.

    Good work by the way! Thanks for stating our case!

  3. This is an email I received in response to this article: Thank you Dagmar and I am so glad we were able to help you.


    I have only been using your product a month now and I should have taken photos prior to me using your makeup. I have rosacea (age 53) - so for YEARS and yes, I mean YEARS have never had a foundation that did not add to my breakouts. I was relieved to be able to purchase a sample because skepticism always creeps in along with not wanting to have to pay out money for something that doesn't do what the product says it does. The first day I put it on my face - I DID NOT ITCH or BREAKOUT. I almost felt it to be too good to be true.

    I wear the Evening Rose Veil underneath and then the foundation on top. Everyone who knows me has commented on how GREAT my face looks.

    I personally would like to "THANK YOU" for your diligent work and I would gladly and willingly at anytime stand up for you and what you do.


    Dagmar R.
    Houston TX