What’s all a Twitter??

If you are also following the Protect Our Breasts twitter feed, you may have seen both Gabrielle’s and my observations of the Current State of Cosmetics congressional hearings this morning.  After more than 30 years, attention is finally being paid to the rising volume of dissent over toxins in our personal care products. The FY13 federal budget calls for $19 million in user fees to be directed to FDA which would allow oversight into an industry which has been largely unregulated. Gabrielle and I watched the hearings LIVE and tweeted for those of our followers who want to be in the know.

Today’s hearing really shined a light on the true safe cosmetics warriors in the House of Representatives: Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) co-authors of H.R. 2359, the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011.

Gabrielle: I felt Representative Markey, as a speaker for a state with one of the highest breast cancer rates in the country (Cape Cod), truly did justice to the community. Markey ended his question segment for the panel by saying “Everyone has the right to be protected; everyone has the right to know”. Representative Jan Schakowsky, the Illinois representative that asked the hard hitting questions, was my personal favorite. Representative Schakowsky was very clear (even in the face of industry’s denial of the facts) that cosmetics do contain chemicals that contribute to cancer and that there are chemicals in products that are on the market today that are not safe. She shined a light on the science and regulations missing in the FDA’s current program, preventing the FDA from avoiding the fact that they do have chemicals on the market that are unsafe and have been recalled in the European Union. Schakowsky mentioned numerous times that these chemicals are carcinogens.  It is evident Schakowsky’s safe cosmetics background comes from a public safety perspective and that she shares our organization’s mission in providing a healthy, cancer free, future for all.

Multiple times during the hearing, recent news topics, which Protect Our Breasts have covered in our previous blog posts, were highlighted. From lead in lipstick to the dangers of Brazilian Blowout, I was proud to say we have been sharing the most important information with our readers. Woot Woot!

Cynthia: I was also very impressed with Markey and Schakowsky. For example, MA Congressman Markey stated 12000 ingredients are used in personal care products, most of which have not been assessed for safety. The Illinois Congresswoman Schakowsky revealed that just ten ingredients have been banned for safety in cosmetics in the U.S. where 1200 have been banned in the European Union. Another well-spoken advocate for safety, Dr. Michael J. DiBartolomeis of the California Safe Cosmetics Program shared that 24,664 hazardous ingredients have been found in cosmetic products. (See his testimony at http://republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/Media/file/Hearings/Health/20120327/HHRG-112-IF14-WState-DiBartolomeis-20120327.pdf) Congressman Waxman pointed out that FDA’s staff at 14 truly focused on cosmetics can hardly compare to the 3,000 on a drug review. Although there were certainly several who seemed to suggest the system “isn’t broken”, there were others that showed their deep concern, giving me hope that there may be change in our future. 

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