Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Oppose the Safe Cosmetics Act in the USA

News of an ominous nature reached me. It's been in the cards for some time (read our article from February 2010), but now indie perfumers are alarmed enough to notify us of impending changes which are about both to close down their businesses and to effect dramatic changes in the industry at large.

Indie perfumer Ayala Moriel who initially notified me is calling it dire: "The chances that you in the USA and as a result in all North America will be able to use any natural products, essential oils and natural perfumes included, is in danger. Not to mention the livelihood of many small businesses, due to the "Campaign for Safe Cosmetics" for passing the "Safe Cosmetics Act" (SCA for short).The main problem with this act is that it proposes that all compoments of all ingnredients in cosmetic products will be listed on the label. Considering that most natural products are very complex and contain many, many molecules (for example: rose essential oil contains over 200 identified molecules and still has many trace elements that are yet to be discovered), this will make labeling of natural cosmetics (perfume included) non-realistic. There will simply be no room to put all the ingredients on the label... So what this law will really do is ensure that mostly if not only synthetic mateirals (which are "purely" just one or two molecules) will be used in your skin care and body products! This will make it very difficult for the growers and distillers of natural raw materials for perfumes and cosmetics to survive, not to mention eliminate the small businesses who will not be able to catch up with such regulations, labeling-wise and sourcing-wise. This is similar (but even worse!!!) than the nightmare that has been going on in Europe for the past decade with IFRA regulations and RIFM (the EU regulatory body). It is not too late to stop this from happening! And if we don't, than the entire world will be smelling like Calone and artifical fruits, and all we could wear on our skin will be silicone... Renown aromatherapist Robert Tisserand, who is an expert on the issue of safety of essential oils and understand the threat of this act wrote an excellent article which will shed more light on the matter. Here's an exerpt: "The thinking behind the wording of SCA 2010 is naive because there is an assumption that substances are either “safe” or “toxic”, and that if we simply eliminate the toxic ones from personal care products, the world will be a better place. It may seem like an excellent idea, but once you start talking about parts per million or lower, it is unnecessary and unrealistic. Not even foods are regulated to that degree, and our exposure to foods is far greater than our exposure to cosmetics".

Read the rest of Robert Tisserand's article, and if you live in the USA, please act on it and Sign the Oppose SCA Petition (the goal of 5000 signatures is only 111 short, so I trust our readers will do their share and help reach it!), write Congress, write Your Senator, vote "Oppose" on Open Congress, and see your representatives & senators in person during Summer Recess August 9 - September 12. If you are on Twitter, please follow the #OpposeSCA hashtag. to oppose this bill, which is draconian and ridiculous and will only ensure that we will all be only using synthetics that are manufactured by large corporations and are supposedly safe, rather than plants and oils that were used for thousands of years. It will do nothing for improving safety in cosmetics.

Educate yourself, by reading the following relevant links:
Oppose SCA
Indie Business Blog
Essential U
Personal Care Truth
Robert Tisserand's article

Read more also on Ayala Moriel's personal blog (alongside some wonderful news of hers).
Additionally read about the Natural Perfumers' Guild opposing it on this link.

If you want to follow everything about perfumery restrictions follow the label "Restricions" on our Series linked here on PerfumeShrine.


  1. Delia13:39

    Time for niche to become experts on "potpourri oil" production.

  2. Armando Martinez13:44

    I signed the petition against this rather heinous act against the indie perfumers; it's not right and needs to be stopped for all that is presenting and is.

  3. Anonymous13:58

    Hi Elena, thanks for letting us know. This is absolutely appalling! Just when i was thinking of planning a visit to Ayala next spring when i am in Canada for work.. just my luck. Anything we on this side of the pond can do (apart from buying everything before it's all gone)? cheers, Wendy

  4. Delia,

    let's hope they won't have to resort to that kind of resourcefulness! (not to mention the air emanations from pot-pouri might be deemed non safe either!!)
    I prefer they keep that resourcefulness for their brilliant craft and that the government allows them to do so for the foreseeable future.

  5. Mando,

    thanks for stopping by! It's indeed an apalling course of events, because it acts on merely suspected allergens and on rather unrealistic principles (just how many ingredients can one person read on a label without becoming cross-eyed?)
    Hope indies continue to produce their stuff, more choice is always good!

  6. Wendy,

    you're welcome, I felt it was my duty to spread the news. This site has always been -from the very start- supportive to the little guys and trying to provide coverage to matters peripheral to "just glamour and big names".

    I guess as this has taken a course for the political, with who knows what games being played for which purposes, it is to be fought formally within the US. However as you say,continuing to support small perfumers and scented goods makers (with our wallets, our voices, our spreading the news online and educating the public around us about them), is certainly helping them stay afloat. And if there is a demand for their crafts, then the suppliers will perhaps think it twice before abandonding materials which have proven to be "moving" and are profitable to them...

  7. Anonymous21:56

    Signed the petition. Thanks!

  8. I signed it. But I fear this is a done deal. It seems all the politicos have to do to fool people is label the legislation as 'Safe'. I think most savvy folks can guess the aim is to further protect large manufacturers against small competitors. Alas, the general public aren't very smart.

  9. Anonymous05:07

    Er, I don't think SCA 2010 has more to do with the large cosmetic companies than the special interest lobby groups that have been targeting large cosmetic firms for over a decade now. If you look at the founding organizations and the list of supporting groups of SCA 2010 the interest groups such as Greenpeace pops up. And frankly large cosmetic firms would oppose to this because traces of intermediates during the production of synthetic chemicals would have to be labelled as well, which would be a huge pain to say the least.

    While I support incremental legislation based on objective, thorough and on-going research based on credible peer-based scientific publications the current wording of the legislation is simply unacceptable. Honestly it has everything to do with the cosmetic industry being one of the remaining self-regulatory industries protected by trade secret status. And these are the same groups that have been targeting IFRA for years. No wonder the recent IFRA amendents are so stringent so fast.

  10. Anonymous05:15

    Elena, I wonder why established cosmetic firms are not sufficiently responding to the current legislative crisis, since it would affect them quite substantially--aside from the labelling issue there's also the on-going testing and research fees that these firms would have to pay based on their estimated earnings. (Apparently firms grossing under $1 million would be exampt, but how state-level government would factor into this isn't clearly explained.) I think this is the first time in my life that large corporations aren't visibly lobbying to the government and the otherside is actually pulling all the stops. I know IFRA is trying to demonstrate its competency as a self-regulatory organization...but I don't know how the amendments will factor into this. Your input would be greatly appreciated.


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