I never really thought of myself as a mover and shaker. Perhaps others see me that way, but I’ve never really gotten involved in politics or activism beyond student council in high school. I’ve never been to a protest. I’ve never written a letter to my congressman or signed a petition. That is, until I got involved with Beautycounter.
I was outraged to learn that in the US, none of the ingredients or combinations of ingredients in personal care and cosmetic products are tested for safety. Basically, something has to cause a lot of harm before it’s pulled, and it’s usually done by the company under market pressure, not any sort of governmental intervention.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the free market, and I believe that healthy competition leads to innovation and better products. I don’t believe that companies should be allowed to hide behind “fragrance” or in some cases not even list questionable ingredients on labels. Especially, and this is where I get really wound up, if the ingredient in question has been proven carcinogenic or harmful to developing endocrine systems. It’s one thing to not know- it’s another to willfully ignore, and not even allow people the opportunity to make an educated choice.
I recently did this, and it was an interesting experience. I got the typical form letters from Vermont’s congress people- Bernie Sanders (maybe you’ve heard of him?), Pat Leahy and Peter Welch. Bernie made interesting points about the weaknesses of the proposed law. Sanders said “Where I have some issues with the bill is the funding mechanism for the ingredient review process. The legislation would have the FDA collect user-fees from personal care products manufacturers, similar to what is done for medications and medical devices. However, the pharmaceutical and medical device industries are completely dominated by huge multi-national corporations – there is no equivalent cottage industry of small, local personal care product manufactures that use natural products.” The other two didn’t really say anything other than thank you for your letter.
Fair enough Bernie- though I agree we don’t want to put small businesses out of business (I agree that small business is key to a healthy economy- heck, I’m running one!), I also believe that this issue is worth the investment. Right now, the only recourse we have is to spend our dollars with companies leading the charge for safer products. If you’re not interested in contacting your representatives, at least start by making educated choices about the things you’re buying for your family and bringing into your home.
I fully support Beautycounter because of their commitment to advocacy and transparency. Are all our products organic? No, but they are all tested for safety. We use organic ingredients whenever possible, but not if sourcing them does damage to the environment. Synthetic isn’t bad, but unknown is. The commitment to transparency is amazing. We recently had a glitch with one of our manufacturers and instead of keeping it hush hush, we pulled the product. It was part of a set, so we had to make substitutions, and it wasn’t the easiest solution, but it was the right one.
If this speaks to you, let me know in the comments, or shoot me an email and I’ll guide towards the products that are right for your family or if you’re curious, fill you in on the business side of the business. Not to end on a cliche, but it feels so go to be the change I want to see in the world.