Ban chemicals, not business

Sept. 15, 2008

by Kristen Miller

Before reading this, I hope you all had the opportunity to glance at my article, “Proposed cosmetic regulations act concerns small beauty industry.”

The article explains the FDA Globalization Act of 2008, currently in draft form that – as it is written – would impose regulatory fees of up to $12,000 a year to even the smallest of beauty product makers across the US.

If passed, the act would also require laboratory testing of products, which would result in further costs to small businesses.

As you may recall, my past two articles focused on myself coming to terms with a vast majority of products we all use daily being filled with chemicals that may or may not be so good for us.

To get a local opinion, I telephoned Cheryl Niemela of Cokato, who makes her own bath and body products right inside her home.

That was when I was informed of this draft.

Knowing her products are all natural, I thought she would undoubtedly be an advocate for what is called the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics – “a coalition working to protect [consumer] health by calling for the elimination of chemicals used in the cosmetics industry linked to cancer, birth defects, and other health problems.”

This sounds great, right? Well, unfortunately, this coalition is in support of the globalization act and is even asking for stronger regulations than what was drafted.

Being that it is a proposed act, in draft form, the terms of it can still be changed. It’s not too late.

Like Niemela said, even though the jury is still out as to what the health impacts are for some of these everyday chemicals, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Though I feel it is important for such chemicals to be avoided, I don’t think it’s fair that the small beauty industry should have to pay excessive costs for lab testing of products that are already edible, as well as an annual registration fee for the FDA to make a substantial amount of money on.

These fees could be detrimental to small businesses like Niemela’s and others, putting them out of business and leaving consumers with fewer choices.

I like the little mom-and-pop shops. I know I am getting a good product (just read the label), and it’s unique.

My solution to protecting consumers against harmful chemicals in cosmetics and beauty products is further research.

Why don’t they know if these chemicals can potentially be harmful? Isn’t a “link” good enough to ban certain chemical ingredients?

Then again, maybe they do know the ingredients are harmful, but they don’t want it to come to light because it would make it more difficult for large manufacturers to mass produce products so inexpensively.

Why not have a list of the chemicals companies can’t use, even though the jury is still out on them? If some scientists think there may be a link to cancer, why even allow those chemicals to be used?

Sounds like a no-brainer to me.