Big corporations are beginning to find safer alternatives such as using grapefruit seed extract as a preservative, to reformulate the product using fewer ingredients or to choose different packaging, said Janet Nudelman, cofounder of Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the group that blew the whistle on Johnson & Johnson and now praises it.
Companies are starting to embrace the concept of avoiding chemicals of concern, she said. "Many of the big multinationals have equated safety with preventing acute reactions such as eye irritation or rash. They weren't thinking about the long-term consequences of reproductive or developmental harm or even cancer."
Disclosure requirements, such as Washington state’s groundbreaking law, can serve as a de facto ban, she said. "Companies would rather quietly reformulate their products than have consumers know there are carcinogens or reproductive toxins in the product."
Pressure on the corporations also comes from some smaller companies that already make organic or toxics-free shampoos, sunscreens, lotions and body washes, such as Aubrey Organics, Avalon Organics, Badger Co., California Baby, Dr. Bronner's, EO Products, Seventh Generation and Weleda.
"The small companies demonstrate to the big cosmetic giants that making safe products is not only possible, but it's also profitable," said Nudelman. "It's what consumers want."
This article originally ran at Environmental Health News, a news source published by Environmental Health Sciences, a nonprofit media company.