FRANCISCO -- Facing pressure from shareholders and consumers who want safer cosmetics, Avon announced recently that it will phase out the toxic chemical triclosan from its beauty and personal care products. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics congratulated Avon, while pushing the company to take further actions to improve the safety of its cosmetics.
"The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics congratulates Avon for finally giving triclosan the boot," said Janet Nudelman, co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and director of program and policy at the Breast Cancer Fund. "It's a hormonally active chemical that has no business being in cosmetics and personal care products. But triclosan is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to unsafe chemicals in cosmetics. We want Avon to adopt a comprehensive policy that declares chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other adverse health effects to be off limits in cosmetics and to support stricter regulation of the $71 billion cosmetics industry so that everyone is protected."
In 2013, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics worked with the Green Century Fund to file a shareholder proposal that would require Avon to adopt a safe chemicals policy; the proposal received support from 18 percent of shareholders.
Recently, Avon’s competitors have adopted cosmetic chemical safety standards that are stronger than existing federal regulations. Notably, Johnson & Johnson announced in 2012 that it would eliminate chemicals of concern from baby and adult products, including triclosan, parabens, phthalates and preservatives that release formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. In September 2013, Procter & Gamble announced it would eliminate triclosan and the phthalate DEP from all products by 2014. Major loopholes in federal law allow Avon and other cosmetics companies to put unlimited amounts of chemicals into personal care products. Cosmetics companies are not required to test ingredients or monitor health effects of toxic chemicals, nor are they forced to adequately label products. In fact, cosmetics are among the least-regulated products on the market today.
Triclosan is a commonly used antimicrobial agent found in color cosmetics, creams, shaving products, detergents, toothpastes, and antibacterial soaps. The chemical accumulates in our bodies and has been linked to hormone disruption and the emergence of bacteria resistant to antibodies and antibacterial products.
Avon, the company for women, is one of the leading global beauty companies, with $10 billion in annual revenue. As one of the world's largest direct sellers, Avon is sold through more than 6 million active independent Avon Sales Representatives. Avon products are available in over 100 countries, and the product line includes color cosmetics, skincare, fragrance, and fashion and home products, featuring such well-recognized brand names as Avon Color, ANEW, Skin-So-Soft, Advance Techniques, and mark.
About Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a coalition of more than 150 nonprofit organizations working to protect the health of consumers and workers by eliminating dangerous chemicals from cosmetics. Core members include Clean Water Action, the Breast Cancer Fund, Commonweal, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth and Women's Voices for the Earth. The Breast Cancer Fund, a national 501(c)(3) organization focused on preventing breast cancer by identifying and eliminating the environmental links to the disease, serves as the national coordinator for the Campaign.
Source: Campaign for Safe Cosmetics