Yayy for Election 2012!! Whether your candidate won or not, it’s hard to deny the feeling of empowerment that comes with voting! In California, there were some interesting Propositions on the ballot, and one in particular about labeling genetically modified foods (GMOs) reminded me of some challenges we still face in terms of consumer education.  Specifically, I’m thinking about the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 (SCA2011).

As you’re reading this blog post, you may already know that when it comes to cosmetics regulation…the US is lacking. To put it nicely. My personal frustration with the status quo inspired me to write this more academic-like structured In Case You Missed It post (you can thank my policy analysis class for this one).

Below is this week’s In Case You Missed It – the history of cosmetics version!
Let’s get some historical perspective:
1848 – The first federal legislation to regulate drugs entering the US is passed: the Drug Importation Act.
1924 – Misleading statements on products labels are prohibited.
1938 – Cosmetics are regulated for the first time! Manufacturers must provide scientific proof of product safety through the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
1960 – Manufacturers have to ensure safety of colors in foods, drugs, and cosmetics: the Color Additive Amendment. Also, natural products based on botanical ingredients introduced.
1970 – Endangered species-related legislation bans certain cosmetics ingredients.
1976 – To review ingredient safety, an expert panel is formed. Results are publicly published in the International Journal of Toxicology.[1]
Did you notice that not a single piece of federal legislation after the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act actually regulates cosmetics specifically?! Despite so many advancements in technology, product ingredients, etc!!

Now, on to the present:

The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 was introduced in the House of Representatives in June 2011, and is currently bouncing around various subcommittees for further review. Basically, it increases regulations around cosmetics. In particular if this act passed, we’d see:
1.     Improved product labeling.
2.     Products screened against a reasonable certainty of no harm.
3.     Prescribed manufacturing processes for cosmetics and ingredients.[2] 

These three actions form a system that ideally screens out harmful and potentially carcinogenic substances, while keeping things affordable for small businesses.  This bill should not be confused with the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010…that bill was like the Beta version compared to 2011’s bill. The major arguments against the 2010 bill did not come from big cosmetic companies, which I would have thought, but actually from small to medium sized businesses who couldn’t afford the registration fees. The New and Improved SCA2011 listened to those complaints, and will eliminate fees for the smaller companies. [3]

In fact, SCA2011 goes beyond fee waivers to make the process easier for small businesses. With 1800 companies signed on to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, revisions to labeling, disclosure, and testing, SCA2011 is more of a collaboration than a battle. [4]  Whether or not some concessions were made from the 2010 bill, passing SCA2011 would definitely be a step forward! It’s true value seems to be that it pretty much UPDATES the regulatory processes to match current technological capabilities. I mean, I’m sure the 1938 legislation did its job but it’s been 74 years…a lot’s happened. We have new chemicals, new manufacturing processes, new products – it makes sense to have new regulation. 

Something that stood out to me about SCA2011 is that it requires companies to list the ingredients in “fragrance.” In my experience, “fragrance” can hide a multitude of potentially harmful ingredients like phthalates, parabens, or triclosan. Companies elect NOT to disclose those ingredients, claiming that the fragrance is a proprietary blend and therefore, a “trade secret.”[5] 
What’s most disturbing to me is when I’m able to push through the marketing of a product, and really scrutinize the ingredients and the company’s mission – I realize the true danger I put MYSELF in on a daily basis! It’s overwhelming in the skin care or makeup aisle…with dozens of brands fighting for my attention, I can spend an HOUR in the store and still walk out empty-handed. Personally, I feel that the government could do so much more to protect me, the consumer, by simply phasing out known carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals from products that I use on a daily basis. 

If you are interested in reading more about cosmetics regulation, or want to follow the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 as it moves (hopefully) forward, see the references section for some great resources.

[1] http://www.safecosmeticsalliance.org/index.cfm?objectid=EE203500-D4DB-11E1-A38E000C296BA163
[2] http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:h.r.2359:
[3] http://safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=695
[4] http://www.forbes.com/sites/amywestervelt/2011/06/27/new-and-improved-safe-cosmetics-act-could-boost-green-chemistry/
[5] http://www.ewg.org/files/nottoopretty_final.pdf

I love Halloween! I know lots of people do, based on how many pins of Halloween makeup/candy/costumes/food/decorations I saw on Pinterest all month long...

And, since there's such a great big community of Halloween enthusiasts, I thought I'd cover something for the day AFTER Halloween. 

As you run errands (ie, go from Walmart to Target to CVS to Rite Aid buying 50% off Halloween candy), you're bound to need a caffeinated pick-me-up, if you're anything like me. I drink my coffee black, so I typically bypass the packets of sugar, honey, lemon, etc, but recently I paused and snagged a handful, since there were packets of Sugar in the Raw. I already knew what was gonna happen.

BEAUTY TO-GO: Lemon-Honey-Sugar Scrub
Ingredients: 2 packets of lemon juice, 1 packet of honey, 1 packet of sugar in the raw, 2 teaspoons EVOO from the pantry.
Tools: fork and shot glass (I made mine a facial scrub, so only used a small amount).
1. Pour the lemon into the EVOO
2. Mix until well combined
3. Add the honey, and stir
4. Add the sugar
This amount was perfect for my face and neck. I massaged the sugar rocks gently over my skin, and rinsed with warm water. I must say, when rinsing, my skin felt oily still from the scrub and I was worried I'd need to use my facial cleanser after, but once I dried off with a towel, my skin felt incredibly smooth, clean, and moisturized - not oily at all.
Looks like food...oh wait! It is food.
Fresh-faced! Feelin good. Note the neon pink shower sponge in the back!
And now, for the best the interwebs have to offer...In case you missed it:

Those were my top 5 stories for the week ... what are some of yours?
Happy Monday!

I always love a good egg yolk. Some people avoid them and ONLY eat the egg whites because they’re afraid that the yolk is too fatty, or has cholesterol, or has this or that…well, in my opinion, they are MISSING OUT.

It also turns out that egg yolks are pretty controversial, especially for pregnant women. While sources like Whole Foods list whole eggs in their top 10 Power Foods for pregnant and nursing mothers, pointing to the fact that egg yolks contain most of an egg’s nutrition, the issue seems to be around RAW yolks.

Raw or undercooked food can pose serious risks to pregnant women and their developing babies, and egg yolks can carry bacteria like E. coli and salmonella. Many websites address these dangers, citing mostly the same risks of infection and recommending a thoroughly cooked, firm egg yolk.

There are, however, people who believe that as long as the egg is from a free-range, pastured chicken, a runny egg yolk may actually BENEFIT a mother during pregnancy.

I guess this is something I’ll revisit in the not too near, not too distant future once I decide to have children, but the message I took away from this intense Google-research-session is…enjoy as many runny yolks as I can now!!!

What would you do? Would you take the risk? Do you believe the hype – for either side of the controversy??
Honestly, can anyone out there tell me that this does not look delicious?? I ate these for breakfast this morning – all you do for the perfectly pan-fried runny-yolk egg is:
1.     Heat the pan to medium heat.
2.     Drizzle in oil – any kind is good – my favorites are olive oil, coconut oil, or even non-stick spray if you want to cut down on fat.
3.     Crack the free-range, pastured eggs right into the pan and let simmer until the whites turn…well, white.
4.     Cover the pan (this helps cook the film of egg white that’s covering the yolk). If it looks like the bottom of the egg might get too crunchy, add a splash of water to the pan to get some steam action going.
5.     Carefully use a spatula and lift the eggs off the pan and onto your plate.
6.     Sprinkle whatever spices you like – I like pepper, oregano, and cumin usually but this morning I kept it simple with some fresh cracked pepper.
And now for this week's In Case You Missed It….

·         Organic Monitor Director argues that sustainably-minded Asian companies still overlook social and economic impacts.  The statement addresses a holistic approach and focuses on sustainable packaging. I wonder how or if those companies will respond…

·         Have you heard of EcoCert?  A certification body specializingin natural and organic cosmetics, they issued Honeywell’s first certification for an Asensa hydrolyzed corn starch that forms a latex and is used in both skincare and haircare applications. And I thought corn starch was just for cooking…

·         The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled a recent ad by Boots brand Little Me Organics to be misleading. The product has “organic” in its title, yet contains less than 5% organic ingredients. Semantics and legal definitions can be so problematic, can’t they?

·         Marine-based cosmetics might cause more harm than its worth by placing even more pressure on increasingly strained marine ecosystems.  May want to consider the FULL implications of that “eco” sea kelp scrub…

·         As you prepare your Halloween costume, check out this article from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics about metals in face paints before deciding to paint yourself blue in a full Avatar get-up.  I may have to come up with a new costume now…can’t be Yoda without a green face, now can I?

·         Here are 12 tips for a Healthy Halloween from Mother Nature Network. Yes, more about Halloween…but you can never have enough Halloween!!!

OH! By the way!!! Remember this post about running the Race for the Rescues 10K?  Well they sent out a post-even email announcing that ALL the pups at the event were adopted!!! AND – apparently they took pictures of the runners, and guess who is front and center in the FIRST picture of the email?

Uhh…of ALL the pictures. Of course, right.

Sorry for the randomness of this post…I've been running low on sleep! Have a wonderful week – stay safe and  stay healthy!

This week I’d like to start off with a VERY important announcement:
BabyLove has a Facebook page!! Head on over and check us out – We absolutely LOVE new friends, happy messages, cool wall posts, and definitely those “Likes”. Keep up to date on our project’s development as we move forward and grow!! #weresoexcitedandwejustcanthideit

We will be fully integrating our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, BabyLove website, and any other social media outlet we can think of…so that hopefully, you can visit us no matter how you choose to procrastinate...I mean.. pass the time online.

Speaking of social media outlets – I am a self-diagonsed Insta-addict. I’m always on Instagram – looking at photos, posting photos…it has taken the place of Facebook in my personal procrastination arsenal. My latest post:

I’m a huge animal (particularly pups) lover, and something that has always just killed me is animal testing of cosmetics. Honestly – my eyes tear up thinking about it #Imsuchasensitivesap.  I’m always looking for the “Not Animal Tested” verbage on labels, and it’s so sad that there are so few products out there that have it. It’s an outrage, really!!!

BUT a recent breakthrough in a Portuguese study could significantly reduce animal testing – the researchers’ goal, in fact, is to ABOLISH animal testing in the cosmetics industry.  Their “Sensitiser Predictor” test is a faster, economical way to assess skin sensitivity – and a seemingly better alternative to testing on animals.

So with that sad, and then hopeful, transition, here is what’s out there in green cosmetics news…In case you missed it.

·         Pretty Mommies Skin Care comments on the dangers lurking in topical skin products and how they affect an unborn baby. Did you know that oxybenzone, an ingredient in many sunscreens, is a potential hormone disruptor and has long been associated with low birthweight? So scary!

·         This NYT article provides alternatives to costly cosmetics – for example, to replace a “beach hair” spray ($20 for 4 ounces) … go to the beach! So simple.

·         FOX News anchorwomen wear noticeably more makeup than their liberal counterparts, as discussed in this Huffingtonpost article. Interesting…

·         Though not cosmetics-related, this article details the dangers of PVC flooring. PVC is found in many play-mat floors (soft, flexible plastic), and contains phthalates – an incredibly pervasive endocrine disruptor.  Better check those daycares! Yikes…

·         “Stars without makeup: The real face of fame.”  A slideshow gallery depicting 90+ celebrities with and without makeup. I love these!

That’s it for now … Stay safe, stay healthy!

Over the weekend, I participated in my very first 10K race in the 2012 Race for the Rescues in Pasadena, CA.  In addition to solving environmental problems, pet adoption is something I’m VERY passionate about! It was a great morning – who doesn’t love a grassy lawn full of doggies?! My pups were very excited to get out and be social, and even participated in the 1K dogwalk with my parents.

That’s Gizmo on my leg, and Lucky not paying attention (pre-race)

I ran a good personal time, and did everything I could to prep for the race – from weekly training runs and a good diet to the right breakfast that morning and appropriate clothes/bodycare. Now, I mention bodycare because that is something many people may not think about – but I’ve learned through experience that wearing hairspray, lotion, or even sunscreen can cause MUCH discomfort during a run! When the products inevitably run down my forehead and into my eyes or mouth, I’m forced to endure burning eyes (a condition I lamented about last week) or a bitter taste.

All those chemicals not only inhibit my running but are very likely inhibiting my health as well! I don’t know about you all, but navigating the ingredient labels and monstrous selection of products at stores is overwhelming, and unavoidably, SOME harsh chemicals make their way into my bodycare regimen. **SIGHHHH**

There’s just sooooo maaannnyyyyy options!

BUT – there may be hope! Read on to hear about some promising developments for regulating the chemicals in consumer products…and MORE! (you know, In Case You Missed It)

·         In a recent blog post, Greenbiz.com announced California’s release of the nation’s first comprehensive approach to reducing toxics in consumer products – read more about the Safer Consumer Products proposed regulation hereLegislation is slow, but slow progress is still progress!

·         This article from Greatist.com does a fabulous job of briefly describing some of the dangers in several cosmetic products and practices…and appropriately citing its sources. There are few things better than a well-cited article.

·         For any Eco-Nerds out there, check out the SXSW Eco site to find out what happened at this Eco-tastic convention. They had an ECO HACKATHON! 

·         Sometimes, bedsheets can make or break a bedroom. Treehugger lists several organic options that are as luxurious as they are eco-conscious. If only I could afford those Turkish sheets…*sigh*

·         A recent study linking Mercury to ADHD development is especially worrisome given that the Greatist.com article also lists Mercury content of skin creams as a cosmetic danger – and mentions that its adverse effects can be experienced through second-hand exposure.  Better read those ingredient labels!

·         The Pregnancy Fitness article off the Huffpost Healthy Living site describes the commitment of some celebrity moms to health during pregnancy.  A fitness DVD program donates $5 per item sold to Christy Turlington’s advocacy project Every Mother CountsFamous moms staying fit…well, it’s better than the tabloids.

That’s this week’s roundup. Have a great week! Stay safe, stay healthy!
Summer might be officially over, but this current heatwave has kept the sun out in FULL force. I pretty much melted biking to class today...

Growing up with nicknames like Casper, Snow White, and just "pale", applying sunscreen is now actually an involuntary muscle contraction. As I rubbed in my Neutrogena face sunscreen (SPF 50+) this morning, I rather clumsily got some in my eye. The ensuing BURN got me thinking (and crying) - what is in this stuff?

Naturally, I took to the interwebs, and ended up at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) website's 2012 Sunscreen Guide and turns out my daily sunscreen is............ 

While I didn't delve deep into the science of this score, I did learn it exceeds the 0-2 "safe range" and that there are what EWG considers "healthier" options out there (lower scores = better performance).

Now here's the In Case You Missed It Monday Montage of recent skincare and sustainability stuff from around the interwebs:

  • As I referred to above, the EWG SkinDeep 2012 Sunscreen Guide provides consumers with a "Hall of Shame" that profiles some of the sunscreen industry's worst offenders. Tsk, tsk. 
  • The Sustainable Cosmetics Summit in Paris next month will for the first time cover the impact of technology on the cosmetics industry. Read more hereI wish I was going to this...
It's funny how one Google query can turn into a multiple-hour internet exploration, isn't it?