‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
Today in celebrity spotting on the Hill: Michelle Pfeiffer https://t.co/zg0xVN2zAJ— Tal Kopan (@Tal Kopan)1558631389.0
Pfeiffer was there to promote the Personal Care Product Safety Act, a bi-partisan effort co-sponsored by Democratic California Senator Dianne Feinstein and Republican Maine Senator Susan Collins to update cosmetic regulations that have remained largely unchanged since 1938.
"Thanks to Sens. Feinstein and Collins and other congressional leaders for taking on such an important and overdue cause to clean up the cosmetics industry," Pfeiffer said in an EWG press release. "Companies should not be allowed to use hazardous ingredients in products people use and apply to their skin every day. As a parent, I am particularly concerned about the ingredients in products marketed toward infants and children. Parents and expectant parents deserve to know that the soaps, lotions and other products they put on their kids' skin is free of toxic chemicals."
Currently, as EWG explained, cosmetic manufacturers do not have to:
- Register their products with the FDA
- Submit ingredients lists
- Follow safe manufacturing standards
- Share safety records
- Report hospitalizations or other health impacts
Food and medical products, on the other hand, are subject to all or most of these controls. The act supported by Pfeiffer would close these loopholes and empower the FDA to recall products if a company refuses to do so voluntarily, according to EWG's bill summary.
Pfeiffer has long been concerned with the safety of cosmetics, particularly perfume, Fast Company noted. In addition to lobbying for change, she has also launched her own brand of perfume called Henry Rose that limits its ingredient pool to 250 out of the 3,000 used by most perfumers. Hers is the first perfume to earn the EWG VERIFIED™ mark, the group said.
"Michelle first found EWG after doing her own research about what products were the safest for her family, and no one is more committed to seeing these much-needed reforms by Sens. Feinstein and Collins become law," EWG President Ken Cook, who joined Pfeiffer on Capitol Hill Thursday, said in the press release. "EWG has advocated for new federal cosmetics industry standards for nearly 20 years, and it feels like the moment is upon us."
"@EWG has advocated for new federal #cosmetics industry standards for nearly 20 years, and it feels like the moment… https://t.co/UxQdFWXPzA— Monica (@Monica)1558636800.0
Pfeiffer isn't the first celebrity to team up with EWG for safer cosmetics. Last year, Kourtney Kardashian attended a Senate briefing on the bill at EWG's invitation, The Washington Post reported.
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By Katherine Kornei
Clear-cutting a forest is relatively easy—just pick a tree and start chopping. But there are benefits to more sophisticated forest management. One technique—which involves repeatedly harvesting smaller trees every 30 or so years but leaving an upper story of larger trees for longer periods (60, 90, or 120 years)—ensures a steady supply of both firewood and construction timber.
A Pattern in the Rings<p>The <a href="https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/coppice-standards-0" target="_blank">coppice-with-standards</a> management practice produces a two-story forest, said <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bernhard_Muigg" target="_blank">Bernhard Muigg</a>, a dendrochronologist at the University of Freiburg in Germany. "You have an upper story of single trees that are allowed to grow for several understory generations."</p><p>That arrangement imprints a characteristic tree ring pattern in a forest's upper story trees (the "standards"): thick rings indicative of heavy growth, which show up at regular intervals as the surrounding smaller trees are cut down. "The trees are growing faster," said Muigg. "You can really see it with your naked eye."</p><p>Muigg and his collaborators characterized that <a href="https://ltrr.arizona.edu/about/treerings" target="_blank">dendrochronological pattern</a> in 161 oak trees growing in central Germany, one of the few remaining sites in Europe with actively managed coppice-with-standards forests. They found up to nine cycles of heavy growth in the trees, the oldest of which was planted in 1761. The researchers then turned to a historical data set — more than 2,000 oak <a href="https://eos.org/articles/podcast-discovering-europes-history-through-its-timbers" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">timbers from buildings and archaeological sites</a> in Germany and France dating from between 300 and 2015 — to look for a similar pattern.</p>
A Gap of 500 Years<p>The team found wood with the characteristic coppice-with-standards tree ring pattern dating to as early as the 6th century. That was a surprise, Muigg and his colleagues concluded, because the first mention of this forest management practice in historical documents occurred only roughly 500 years later, in the 13th century.</p><p>It's probable that forest management practices were not well documented prior to the High Middle Ages (1000–1250), the researchers suggested. "Forests are mainly mentioned in the context of royal hunting interests or donations," said Muigg. Dendrochronological studies are particularly important because they can reveal information not captured by a sparse historical record, he added.</p><p>These results were <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-78933-8" target="_blank">published in December in <em>Scientific Reports</em></a>.</p><p>"It's nice to see the longevity and the history of coppice-with-standards," said <a href="https://www.teagasc.ie/contact/staff-directory/s/ian-short/" target="_blank">Ian Short</a>, a forestry researcher at Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority in Ireland, not involved in the research. This technique is valuable because it promotes conservation and habitat biodiversity, Short said. "In the next 10 or 20 years, I think we'll see more coppice-with-standards coming back into production."</p><p>In the future, Muigg and his collaborators hope to analyze a larger sample of historic timbers to trace how the coppice-with-standards practice spread throughout Europe. It will be interesting to understand where this technique originated and how it propagated, said Muigg, and there are plenty of old pieces of wood waiting to be analyzed. "There [are] tons of dendrochronological data."</p><p><em><a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Katherine Kornei</a> is a freelance science journalist covering Earth and space science. Her bylines frequently appear in Eos, Science, and The New York Times. Katherine holds a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles.</em></p><p><em>This story originally appeared in <a href="https://eos.org/articles/tree-rings-reveal-how-ancient-forests-were-managed" target="_blank">Eos</a></em> <em>and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.</em></p>
Earth's ice is melting 57 percent faster than in the 1990s and the world has lost more than 28 trillion tons of ice since 1994, research published Monday in The Cryosphere shows.
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