Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Opposing H.R. 5786 - even though I firmly support Safe Cosmetics

I've sent this letter to my representative.  I've also sent it to the person running against him in the upcoming election and to the submitters of the bill.  Basically - if they'll listen, I'll talk.  As written, this bill stands to be the end of my company - and of many others like mine.

August 3, 2010
The Honorable Ron Kind
1406 Longworth
Washington D.C.  20515
Subject:  Opposing  H.R. 5786 Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010
Dear Honorable Ron Kind,
How could anybody be against a bill with a name like the Safe Cosmetics Act?  Sometimes what sounds like a good thing really isn’t. Supporters of H.R. 5786 (SCA of 2010) would lead you to believe that small companies like mine aren’t capable of making safe products and are willing pollute the environment and put unsafe chemicals in the bodies of consumers for profit. They use limited and misleading information to scare people without adequate frame of reference or any basis in fact.  They play upon the emotions of caring people who, like us, want only the best for their families.  They’ll have us believe that our houses are full of personal care products that are harmful to our families.  This is simply not true.
I unquestionably favor safe cosmetics, but as written, H.R. 5786 will have consequences far beyond what its title would suggest.  It will undoubtedly put me and thousands of small companies like mine out of business, and for no reason other than to further the agenda of an uninformed vocal minority. Small businesses like mine are built on a commitment to using safe and natural ingredients. Our ingredients, along with those used by large corporations, are proven to be safe and effective in personal care products.  The problem is, only multi-million dollar businesses will be able to absorb the onerous costs that will arise as the result of the Safe Cosmetics Act. The costs will undoubtedly be passed along to consumers.  Small businesses will suffer, jobs will be lost, and the average consumer will needlessly pay much higher prices for personal care products. It’s a no win situation.
I make biodegradable liquid hand wash and traditional soaps. I sell them at local co-ops, craft fairs, Farmer’s Markets and small grocery stores. I’m currently poised for growth and plan to expand my facility and employ 1 - 5 people. Unfortunately, H.R. 5786 is written so that small companies like mine will be pushed out of business and consumers will no longer have options to buy locally produced products that are handcrafted in small batches with fantastic results.
Our country is great because of the opportunities that it gives its citizens. It is enriched by small businesses. When reviewing H.R 5786, please consider business like mine and allow common sense to prevail. 
Please take a look at the key points below.  Don’t fall prey to the scare tactics used by supporters of H.R. 5786 and stand up against its passage.  The informed individual that puts trust in our scientists and our government will clearly see that the well-intentioned but grossly misleading Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 is not beneficial to small businesses like mine, large multinational corporations, and taxpayer in general.  It serves no benefit to the health and safety of our families, our communities, or our environment.
I would love the opportunity to talk with you further about this issue is you have questions for me.
Sincerely yours,

Key Points Highlighting Why I’m against H.R. 5786
I adapted and amended points written by two beautifully written sources by fantastically smart business women: 
1. Donna Marie Coles Johnson, of the Indie Business Network, with an insightful blog
2. Anne-Marie Faiola, aka The Soap Queen, owner of BrambleBerry.com with another well written blog

H.R. 5786 is unnecessary
. Small cosmetics companies have a history of producing safe cosmetics pursuant to current laws that require companies to clearly identify the products they sell, provide all manufacturer contact information and truthfully label products with ingredients.
H.R. 5786 contains unnecessary labeling requirements. Current cosmetics laws already require small companies to list ingredients on labels. HR 5786 expands labeling requirements to include trace elements found inside those ingredients. For example, a product containing water (or any other natural ingredient), would have to contain a label listing the water and also every other trace element inside that water.  Safe drinking water contains a number of chemicals, including nickel, lead, copper, silver and dozens more — depending on the water source.) Requiring small companies to include such a list on each label is onerous and unnecessary.This is what a label for a lotion bar with Cocoa Butter, Olive Oil and Lavender Oil (3 ingredients!) would look like if H.R. 5786 is passed: 
Ingredients: Olive Oil (Tri-Glycerides of Palmitic, Di-Glycerides of Palmitic, Palmitoleic, Stearic, Oleic, Linoleic, Arachidic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Squalene, Beta Carotene, Campesterol, Methylenecholesterol, Stigmasterol, Sitosterol, Fucosterol, 28-Isofucosterol, Stigmadienol, Brassicasterol, 7-Cholestenol,Ergostadienol, Avenasterol, Triterpene Alcohols, Tirucallol, Taraxerol, Dammaradienol Beta-Amyrin Germanicol, Butyrospermol, Parkeol, Cycloartenol, Tirucalladienol, 24-Methlene 24-Dihydroparkeol, 24-Methlenecycloartanol, Cyclobranol, 4-Methyl Sterols, Esters of Tyrosol, Esters of Hydroxytyrosol, Vitamin E (Tocopherols), Carotenoids, Oleuropein) Cocoa Butter (Tri and Diglycerides of Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Lead, Oleic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Isoleic Acid, Beta Carotene, p-Hydroxybenzoic Acid, Vanillic Acid, Ferulic Acid, Syringic Acid, Phenylehtylamine, Theophylline, Aliphatic Esters, Aromatic Carbonyls, Caffeine, Theobromine, Diketopiperazines and Alkylpryazines), Lavender Essential Oil ( Cineole Octanol, Octanone, Alpha Bisabolol, Alpha Cadinol, Alpha Humelene, Alpha Phellandrene, Apha Pinene, Alpha Terpinene, Alpha Terpineol, Alpha Terpinyl Acetate, Alpha Thujene, Alpha Thujone, Beta Bisabolol, Beta Pinene, Beta Thujone, Borneol, Bornyl Acetate, Camphene Camphor, Cineolealpha Terpineol, Carvone, Caryophyllene, Carophyllene Oxide, CIS Alpha Terpineol, CIS Alpha Bisabolene, CIS Carveol, CIA Linalol Epoxide, CIS Ocimene, Citronellal, Citronellol, Coumarine, Cuminaldehyde, Eugenol, Furfural, Geraniol, Geranyl Acetate, Geranyl Butyrate, Hexanol, Hexyl Tiglate, Isoborneol, Lavandulol, Lavandulyl Acetate, Limonene, Linanlol, Linalyl Acetate, Methyl Heptenone, Myrcene, Nerol, Neryl Acetate, Oleanolic Acid, P Cymene, Rosemarinic Acid, Sabinen, Terpinenol, Terpinolene, Trans Carveol, Trans Epoxy Linalyl Acetate, Trans Linanol Epoxide, Trans Ocimene, Ursolic Acid)
H.R. 5786 requires small companies to conduct unnecessary scientific testing. Under the bill as drafted, small companies would be required to test all of the products they make, and be in a position to produce data to the federal government about the ingredients, components of ingredients, and also, components that may be produced when known ingredients are combined. Those are impossible (and unnecessary) standards.
H.R. 5786 specifically allows all 50 states to pass stricter requirements. Even with the sweeping nature of HR 5786, it specifically states that each state can pass additional laws as it sees fit. This provision is Congressional permission for each state to pass whatever laws it wants, creating a patchwork quilt of laws that no small company can comply with.
If Minnesota adds labeling or manufacturing requirements that are different from HR 5786, and also different from other states, then no company will be able to sell so much as a quarter-ounce tube of lip balm without first checking to make sure they are not in violation of 51 separate cosmetics laws. No small company can do that (and most large ones can’t either).
H.R. 5786 does not contain an exemption for small business owners. Many laws in this country exempt small companies because compliance would put them out of business without any real benefit to society. The same is true in this case. H.R. 5786 treats the smallest company making 50 products a day the same way it treats our nation’s multi-million dollar companies. While there is an exemption from the annual payment of fees, the testing and paperwork requirements in this bill place burdens on very small businesses that are unfair, overreaching, unnecessary, offensive and intrusive.
H.R. 5786 contains reporting requirements that are onerous and unnecessarily duplicated Employee information is already reported to the government. Why should the FDA be required to handle that information? Income information is already reported to the IRS. Does the FDA truly need THAT extra paperwork? Listing my distributors, suppliers and ingredient formulations without guaranteeing confidentiality is beyond poor business sense. It’s downright draconian and unduly burdensome for small companies.  Moreover, these requirements do nothing to protect consumers from unsafe products.
H.R. 5786 is based on bad science  Cosmetics are not killing you.  Obesity, smoking, excessive drinking and other lifestyle choices are scientifically linked to death.  Cosmetics have no conclusive link to cancer - especially cosmetics produced by small companies like mine. Yes, certain molecules have been linked to cancers when doused with or ingested in unrealistically excessive quantities.  But small businesses like mine are formulating with natural, safe ingredients and yet will be the ones most affected by the bill. 

1 comment:

  1. Good job taking action and writing your Representative. When they are in town over the next month on break, see if you can meet with them and show them your product to emphasize how safe your product is AND that your sales help make life better for your family by providing you a job (and we know, jobs are hard to come by right now).