01 March 2012

US Scientist to Visit PH to Drum Up Awareness and Action vs Harmful Chemicals in Cosmetics

A California-based scientist promoting the elimination of toxic chemicals in health and beauty products is coming over to the Philippines as the country gears up for the celebration of Women’s Month this March.

At the invitation of the EcoWaste Coalition, Dr. Ann Blake, a member of the Green Ribbon Science Panel of California’s Environmental Protection Agency, will talk about “Women, Cosmetics and Toxic Chemicals” at events slated in Muntinlupa City and Cebu City on March 13 and 16, respectively.

The forum in Muntinlupa will be jointly convened by the Food and Drug Administration and the EcoWaste Coalition, while that in Cebu will be led by the Office of Councilor Nida Cabrera (Chair of Cebu City Council’s Committee on the Environment), the Philippine Earth Justice Center and the EcoWaste Coalition.

Both events will bring to light major chemicals of concern in cosmetics and why consumers, industry and regulatory bodies alike should be concerned.

“Cosmetic ingredients are ubiquitous in our bodies and the environment. The impacts of long-term, multiple chronic exposures are unknown, but recent science indicates cause for concern, particularly around heavy metals, persistent and bioaccumulative ingredients, and hormone-disrupting chemicals,” Blake said in statement.

“These chemicals are of particular concern for women, who have both higher exposure and higher accumulation of contaminants, as well as for fetuses and children at critical windows of development,” she added.

“All of us, however, are impacted in various ways by environmental exposures to chemicals, particularly those from products we apply to our bodies daily,” she pointed out.

Blake’s presentation will also provide an overview of existing global regulation of cosmetic and personal care product ingredients. The strengths and weaknesses of regulation in the US, the European Union, Canada, Japan and the ASEAN nations will be reviewed.

She will likewise share information about local and state regulations and NGO efforts that have served as the basis for new proposals for US regulation including the Safe Cosmetics Act introduced this year.

Her lecture will conclude with an overview of practical information tools and other relevant resources available for regulators and other stakeholders interested in shaping regulatory policy that is most protective of human and environmental health.

Blake has worked for 18 years in toxics reduction strategies that include creating criteria for environmentally preferable purchasing, eco-labeling and product rating systems as well as local, national and international chemicals policy reform.

She has specifically worked with the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the over 800 signatories of the “Compact for Global Production of Safe Health and Beauty Products” to implement the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, including substitution plans to eliminate product ingredients known or suspected of causing cancer,mutation or birth defects.

Blake holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics of Neural Development from the University of Oregon, USA.

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