How About Some Good News For A Change?

by Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, Executive Director/CEO http://www.healthychild.org:

Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the (deforested) trees. But this week, good environmental health news shows great things on the horizon!

First, the long-awaited Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 was introduced to Congress last Friday, with the lofty goal “To amend title VI of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to ensure the safe use of cosmetics, and for other purposes.” The gist of the bill is that suppliers will have to give manufacturers accurate safety reports for ingredients, manufacturers will have to disclose those ingredients to the public and the FDA will have the power to recall products that aren’t safe. Yes, the representatives who introduced it were all Dems: Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), and Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). But as this new bill is mostly supported by the small- and medium-sized businesses that previously balked at the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010, we’re hoping for the kind of bi-partisan support that will ensure safe passage. Ask your Representatives to support the bill. After all, it was 1938 the last time the government regulated cosmetics. Haven’t we come a long way, baby?

In other news, despite months of continued attacks on clean air protections by members of Congress who argue that restrictions would kill jobs, Americans are overwhelmingly supportive of the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to update standards for life-threatening air pollutants such as smog, the American Lung Association reports. A full 75 percent of voters support the EPA setting stricter limits on smog, and a significant majority reject the idea that stronger standards will slow our economic recovery—most even believe that the updated standards will result in an investment in new jobs. Double woot!

Finally, have you noticed how much Lisa Jackson rocks these days? The Environmental Protection Agency Administrator is really showing her true colors this year, as she establishes policies to strengthen the EPA’s chemical management policies and increase public access to chemical information. On June 8th, the EPA declassified the identities of more than 150 chemicals.

And last year, the EPA launched a new Chemical Data Access Tool [http://java.epa.gov/oppt_chemical_search/]. It’s got a far less snappier title than the Skin Deep Database but the objectives are the same: Empowering consumers to understand what’s in their products, and make an informed decision as to whether or not they’re safe for their families. Which means that for once in our nearly 20-year history, Healthy Child and the EPA are on the same page. Thanks, Lisa!

What can you do? Visit HealthyChild.org to learn how our 5 Easy Steps can help your family regulate chemicals in your personal care products and pollutants in your air—without government intervention.