Pledge to be Toxic-Free

PLEDGE TO BE TOXIC-FREE — We should be able to trust that the products we buy are safe — especially ones our families use every day, directly on our bodies. That’s why we’re calling on major personal care product companies to pledge to go toxic-free.

We should be able to trust that the products we buy are safe — especially ones our families use every day, directly on our bodies.

We’ve looked into it, however, and discovered that when we shampoo our hair or wash our hands, we’re likely dosing our bodies with chemicals that can disrupt our hormones, cause developmental problems, and even cause cancer.

Daily exposure to chemicals of concern 

Companies are allowed to put nearly any chemical they want into the products we use every day, despite the fact that the government doesn’t test those chemicals for safety or require any .  As a result, we’ve seen formaldehyde in baby shampoo, phthalates in cosmetics, and more, as small amounts of chemicals of concern have become far too common in many products. 

Exposure to chemicals is especially a concern when it comes to personal care products — things like hand soap, shampoo, lotion, baby wipes, shaving gel, and toothpaste — because we put them directly on our skin on a regular basis, where they can be absorbed or breathed in. On average, women use about a dozen of these products every day, and .  In fact, the average person in the U.S. is exposed to more than 100 different chemicals from personal care products before they leave the house .  

Manufacturers also  what chemicals make up a product's "fragrance." This means consumers are left not knowing whether a product contains any of hundreds of chemicals of concern, like phthalates and styrene, because it’s typically claimed as a trade secret. 


Photos by Shutterstock users  & Monticello. 

These exposures, even in very small amounts, can add up over time, and doctors warn of serious health risks as a result. That’s both dangerous and unnecessary. And this problem is especially urgent for the most vulnerable among us—babies and children—whose bodies are much more susceptible to the doses of chemicals coming from products . There’s no reason we should have to risk our health or that of our children every time we brush our teeth or put on deodorant. 

That’s why we’re calling on major personal care product companies to pledge to be toxic-free.

Safe alternatives are possible and profitable

Just about everyone uses personal care products, and no one wants to get cancer—or any of the other negative health effects linked to chemicals in many of these products. So why let companies profit by exposing you to chemicals that aren’t proven safe, when they could make your favorite products without them? 

Consumer demand has already started to move some companies to go toxic-free, and has helped contribute to the growth of an $11 billion . For example, Johnson & Johnson has begun to remove certain chemicals from their products, showing that this is possible and profitable. And The Honest Company, founded on a commitment to make healthy products that don’t contain chemicals of concern, has skyrocketed to a valuation of $1.7 billion within its .  

If enough of us raise our voices, the rest of the industry will follow their lead. Pressure from consumers, public calls for change in the media, and shareholder demands will create the right conditions for major personal care product manufacturers such as Unilever, L’Oreal, and Procter & Gamble to respond by removing toxics from their products and disclosing all ingredients in their fragrances.

We can't afford to wait to take action

Cancer kills. Developmental problems needlessly make lives more difficult. Reproductive dysfunction brings pain and heartbreak. The list goes on. We are all exposed to the invisible threat of toxic chemicals from products in our daily lives, increasing our risk for these devastating illnesses. 

We can immediately reduce the amount of chemicals we carry in our bodies by shopping for products that , but we can only solve the larger problem by getting these chemicals out of the supply chain — and that’s where personal care product manufacturers are in the best place to protect us.  

When manufacturers pledge to be toxic-free, we can all rest assured that our favorite products aren’t increasing our risk of cancer, or a host of other life-altering health problems. We will be able to bathe our children and protect them from the sun with the peace of mind that we can trust what’s in our products — and without having to research a laundry list of 7-syllable ingredients. We can eliminate toxic chemicals in personal care products — and have one less thing to worry about when we get ready for the day.

We’re Calling On L’ORÉAL To Go Toxic-Free

U.S. PIRG, along with other Consumer, public health, and environmental groups across the country are urging L’Oréal to disclose all of its fragrance ingredients, as well as remove carcinogens and other chemicals linked to health problems from its cosmetic products.

Together, we can make personal care products without dangerous chemicals the industry standard. Thanks to our previous work earlier this year, popular personal care product maker Unilever, which owns brands like Dove and Caress, made a bold move to announce that it would disclose most of its fragrance ingredients by 2018. 

Join more than 150,000 Americans in calling on L’Oréal to pledge to be toxic-free.  

Issue updates

News Post | Public Health

A Year In Review: Progress Getting Toxic Chemicals out of Personal Care Products | Dev Gowda

In the past year, we’ve seen a lot of progress to get toxic chemicals out of personal care products and to convince companies to disclose fragrance ingredients. Consumers are at the forefront of making that happen, and I’m proud that we’ve been able to harness consumer preferences and push several companies to do better.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

KIDS' MAKEUP SOLD BY RETAILER CLAIRE'S POTENTIALLY CONTAINS ASBESTOS

National children’s retailer Claire’s has issued a recall of nine makeup products after reports surfaced they may contain cancer-causing asbestos fibers. The makeup contained traces of asbestos, according to a law firm which tested the products. Asbestos is not used commercially in makeup, but can be found as a contaminant in talc, a common ingredient in cosmetics. Sparkly, shimmery, and powdery makeup often contains talc as a major ingredient. 

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News Post | Public Health

Personal Care Product "Trade Secrets" Are Hurting Consumers | Dev Gowda

The new shampoos, hand creams, soaps and body washes we unwrapped this holiday season smell like roses, chamomile, lavender, springtime.

But the fragrances that fill many of our bottles and bars are far from natural, and because of a lack of transparency in labeling, we could be “cleaning” our bodies with chemicals that can disrupt our hormones, cause developmental issues and even lead to cancer.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health

Statement on Wendy’s progress on antibiotic use in its meat supply chain

Today, Wendy’s, the sixth largest U.S. restaurant by sales, announced updates regarding antibiotic use in its meat supply chain. 

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ARKANSAS STATE PLANT BOARD VOTES TO PROTECT FARMERS FROM DICAMBA DRIFT

Yesterday, the Arkansas State Plant Board unanimously voted to ban the pesticide dicamba for the 2018 planting season. The decision was based on advice from a task force composed of scientists, farmers, and other experts. Arkansas came to the decision after a year of record crop losses caused by dicamba—during 2017, the state received  than it ever has in one year.

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Agency votes to begin rulemaking process to protect American children, firefighters from hazardous flame retardant chemicals

Today, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) took three critical steps toward protecting consumers and firefighters from the hazards posed by a class of flame retardant chemicals (known as “organohalogens”). The CPSC directed the Commission’s staff to begin the rulemaking process to ban the sale of four categories of consumer products if they contain these chemicals. Once again, the CPSC has made an important action for consumers.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health

Report: EPA Considering Limiting Dicamba Herbicide, as More Farmers Report Crop Damage

Officials at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allegedly suggested on a phone call that the agency is considering limiting the spraying of the dicamba herbicide. U.S. PIRG is in support of any EPA policy proposal that would limit or ban the use of this pesticide.

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Statement on Unilever Starting to Disclose Fragrances via SmartLabel

Statement from U.S. PIRG Toxics Advocate Dev Gowda on Unilever Starting to Disclose Fragrances via SmartLabel

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News Release | CALPIRG | Public Health

CA Assembly Passes Bill to Disclose Toxic Chemicals in Cleaning Products

Cleaning shouldn't harm anyone's health. But for far too long we've been kept in the dark about health-harming chemicals used in cleaning supplies. Today the California state Assembly passed SB 258, The Cleaning Product Right-to-Know Act. 

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Report | U.S. PIRG | Public Health

On April 17th Taxpayers Will Pay To Clean Up After Polluters At Toxic Wastes Sites

In 1995, Superfund’s polluter pays fees expired. Since then, the financial burden to clean up toxic waste has shifted entirely from polluters to regular taxpayers. Taxpayers now pay for all Superfund-led toxic cleanups, spending well over $1 billion annually to protect public health from the irresponsible business practices of polluting industries. As valuable public dollars are spent on these cleanups, polluting industries are enjoying a $4 million per day tax break courtesy of the American taxpayer.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

The Food Safety Net

Protecting the safety and integrity of the food supply is one of the oldest functions of government, one that the American people expect their government to perform and perform well. As federal agencies become increasingly under-funded and influenced by powerful corporate interests, the states’ role in maintaining the food safety net grows ever-more important.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Empty Pockets

After 25 years of experience, the Superfund program has evolved to protect Americans from toxic chemicals released when industry collides with nature, such as hurricanes and floods. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) now must use this experience to face its biggest challenge yet—cleaning up the toxic pollution left behind after Hurricane Katrina flooded the Gulf Coast. Unfortunately, funding shortfalls plague the Superfund program and may hinder its ability to respond to Hurricane Katrina and address the thousands of other polluted sites littered across the country.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Undisclosed Pollution

Since 1987, the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) program has been the nation’s premiere pollution disclosure program. By requiring companies to disclose the pollution they release to our air, water, and land, transfer off site, or dispose in a waste dump, the TRI program has ensured the public’s right-to-know about toxic pollution in communities. The TRI program is under attack. The Bush Administration has issued a series of proposed changes over the past few years, some of which would weaken the program by reducing the amount or quality of information available to the public.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Consumer Protection

The Right Start

A child’s first few years are an exciting time for parents who hope, if for nothing else, that their child starts his or her life happy and healthy. Unfortunately, not all products marketed for children and babies are completely safe for their use. Many contain toxic chemicals that may have detrimental health impacts for children exposed during critical stages of development.

> Keep Reading

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News Post | Public Health

USDA announces that it won’t test food for Roundup | Kara Cook-Schultz

Coming on the heels of newly released emails showing Monsanto pressured Environmental Protection Agency officials to declare glyphosate is not a carcinogen, the USDA's testing of glyphosate residues in food has coincidentally been put on hold. The USDA had announced last year that it would begin testing food for glyphosate starting in April 2017. Now that the time has come, the agency has changed its tune.

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News Post | Public Health, Antibiotics

US, European Consumer Groups Holding Public Events In DC This Week | Ed Mierzwinski

The PIRG-backed TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue (tacd.org) -- a forum to ensure that trade policies serve consumers -- holds its 17th Annual Meeting in Washington on Tuesday 21 March. The public main event is titled: "A consumer agenda for transatlantic markets: safeguarding protections and making progress in times of political change." On Wednesday, the group sponsors two public side events: (1) Consumer Health, Consumer Action and Antimicrobial Resistance and (2) Empowering and Protecting Youth in the Big Data Era.

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News Post | Public Health

New court documents allege that Monsanto wrote scientific studies affirming Roundup’s safety | Anna Low-Beer

Newly-accessible court papers allege that Monsanto manufactured scientific studies affirming the safety of their star product, Roundup, and paid a scientist to publish them.

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News Post | Public Health, Antibiotics

If It Looks Like a Chicken and Walks Like a Chicken | Steve Blackledge

Earlier this week, Tyson Foods announced another big step toward stopping the overuse of antibiotics on industrial farms. The announcement underscores a larger trend that’s been happening for a few years now; consumer pressure is helping to drive important public health changes in the marketplace. To be sure, there are laggards on the antibiotics front (see our recent blog on KFC), but perhaps no company has lagged as aggressively and proudly as Sanderson Farms. 

> Keep Reading
News Post | Public Health, Antibiotics

Chicken Industry Moves Further Away From Antibiotics, but KFC Still Chickens Out | Matt Wellington

Bravo, Tyson Foods! Today the company announced its plan to eliminate antibiotics in the chickens raised for its brand name chicken offerings (breasts, wings, and nuggets). This move by the largest U.S. meat company (in revenue), is indicative of a larger paradigm shift in the chicken industry.

> Keep Reading

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L'OREAL: PLEDGE TO BE TOXIC-FREE

We should know whether the products we use on our bodies are safe. Tell L'Oreal to be a leader and Pledge to be Toxic-Free.

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