Late last month, global cosmetics giant Revlon announced it will remove some long-chain parabens and formaldehyde-releasing chemicals from its products, in response to a petition circulated last year by the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) that to date has rallied support from over 109,000 consumers.
Long-chain parabens can act as estrogens and have been linked to endocrine disruption. Formaldehyde is a potent allergen that has been classified as a carcinogen.
EWG executive director Heather White called the move a step in the right direction.
“We are pleased that Revlon has acted to remove these toxic ingredients,” White said. “Long-chain parabens and formaldehyde-releasing chemicals have no place in everyday cosmetic products. We applaud Revlon for taking these important steps and hope that other companies will follow Revlon’s lead by reformulating their products to remove chemicals that have been linked to serious health problems.”
In its announcement, Revlon said it has already removed isobutylparaben and isopropylparaben, and is in the process of reformulating a product that contains butylparaben. In addition, the company said it has already removed the formaldehyde releaser DMDM hydantoin from its products and will soon remove quaternium-15 as well.
“The move by Revlon confirms that companies can produce cosmetics products without these troubling ingredients,” added White. “We urge [Revlon] to continue to improve their products to meet the health needs of their customers. Today's news reflects real progress, but more reformulation and ongoing review of the science is needed.”
In addition, White praised Revlon for the company's commitment to meet the European Union’s allergen-labeling requirements for all Revlon products, including those marketed and sold in the United States.
“Few major American cosmetic makers have gone as far as Revlon to give their consumers this basic information,” White said. “We urge all companies to do the same and disclose the allergens contained in their products.”
White also applauded Revlon for releasing its ingredient policies and urged other cosmetic companies to follow Revlon’s example.
In April, as consumers and regulators escalated demand for safer consumer products, fellow cosmetics giant Avon announced it would phase out the toxic chemical triclosan — a commonly used antimicrobial agent found in color cosmetics, creams, shaving products, detergents, toothpastes, and antibacterial soaps — from its beauty and personal care products. Triclosan has been linked to hormone disruption and the emergence of bacteria resistant to antibodies and antibacterial products.