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Open Letter Calling on Procter & Gamble to be Toxic-Free

April 20, 2016
David S. Taylor, President and CEO
The Procter & Gamble Company
1 P&G Plaza
Cincinnati, OH 45202

Dear Mr. Taylor,

We are writing as a broad coalition of organizations—including consumer, public health, environmental, environmental justice, women’s, health care professionals’, and parents’ groups—that have joined together to improve public health by reducing exposure to toxic chemicals. We represent millions of people across the country who are concerned about the safety of chemicals in everyday products, including personal care products.

We are writing to ask you to join other industry-leading companies by putting in place a more protective, comprehensive, company-wide chemical ingredient policy that is fully disclosed to the public, and to disclose the specific mixture of ingredients in “fragrance” in each of your products.

We commend Procter & Gamble for meeting with one of the signers of this letter, Women’s Voices for the Earth, to discuss the company’s chemical policy, with a focus on chemicals in feminine care and cleaning products. The signers of this letter are calling for a company-wide chemical policy that affects all products across categories and brands, with a particular concern for personal care products.

We also commend Procter & Gamble for the recent announcement of the list of chemicals that will not be used in fragrance, and committing to update the list as additional chemicals are phased out.[1] This step toward full ingredient disclosure gives consumers more information about the products they buy and use every day, and pushes the industry as a whole to be more transparent. However, there is still a long way to go toward safer products and greater transparency.

Many chemicals in personal care products are linked to negative health effects, like cancer,[2] developmental and reproductive problems,[3],[4] neurotoxicity,[5] hormone disruption,[6],[7] and more. As you know, people across every demographic use personal care products every day, and as a result, face daily, cumulative exposure to the chemicals in those products. Consumers deserve to know which ingredients they are being exposed to, and they are increasingly demanding to know what’s in their products.

Indeed, as consumers become more informed, they demand more products free of chemicals of concern. Companies that respond to these demands in meaningful ways will be the ones who win consumers’ trust. In fact, the marketplace has already begun to move away from toxic chemicals, contributing to the growth of an $11 billion safe cosmetics industry. The Honest Company, founded on principles of safety, sustainability, and integrity, skyrocketed to a valuation of $1.7 billion[8] just three years after its founding.

Large, multinational companies like Johnson & Johnson have also responded to consumer demand to remove some chemicals of concern from their products, and Johnson & Johnson has developed a website describing its ingredient policies for several chemicals of concern for its personal care and baby products, thus acknowledging customer demand for safer products. But even industry leaders have much more to do to ensure transparency and safety of all ingredients in their products, and there is room to lead the way among personal care product companies.

As a leading personal care products company, we believe Procter & Gamble has a major opportunity and responsibility to address this widespread public health threat, and the concerns of its customers. Our groups call on Procter & Gamble to make the following commitments:

1)    Adopt a comprehensive, company-wide chemical policy to identify and eliminate chemicals linked to adverse health effects from your products and replace them with safer alternatives. This policy should include known or suspected carcinogens, mutagens or reproductive toxicants (CMRs), neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors, and persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic substances (PBTs).

2)    Create a timeline to promptly implement each element of that policy;

3)    Fully disclose the policy and timeline to the public, online and in corporate social responsibility reports;

4)    Disclose all ingredients in your personal care products, including product-specific constituent ingredients of fragrance and preservatives, on packaging where feasible, and in all cases, online.

We would welcome the opportunity to publicly praise Procter & Gamble for committing to these important changes.

We look forward to working together to protect public health, provide consumers with more information and safer products, and show that Procter & Gamble is an industry leader in chemical ingredient safety. If you have any questions, please contact Dev Gowda at 312-544-4433 x 210, or dev@pirg.org.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

Center for Biological Diversity

Center for Environmental Health

Clean and Healthy New York

Clean Water Action – Massachusetts

Clean Water Action – Connecticut

Coming Clean

Consumer Action

Environmental Health Strategy Center - Prevent Harm

Greenpeace

Headwater

Healthy Children Project

Healthy Schools Network

Informed Green Solutions

Learning Disabilities Association of America

Learning Disabilities Association Minnesota

Made Safe

Moms Clean Air Force

Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund

Safer Chemicals Healthy Families

Savvy Women’s Alliance

Sierra Club

Stacy Malkan - Author of Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry, and co-founder of Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

Texas Campaign for the Environment

The Ecology Center

U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund

Washington Toxics Coalition

Women's Voices for the Earth


          

[1] Procter & Gamble, Product Fragrances and Scents, available at http://us.pg.com/our_brands/product_safety/ingredient_safety/fragrance-a..., viewed 3/22/16.

[2] For example, in September 2014, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found a number of carcinogens in your P&G cosmetic products including: Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) in CoverGirl and Max Factor mascaras; Benzophenone-1 in CoverGirl nail polishes; Titanium dioxide (in inhalable form) in CoverGirl pressed powders, powder foundations; bronzers, eye shadows and blush; and Formaldehyde releasing preservatives like DMDM hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl urea, Polyoxymethylene urea and Quaternium-15 in Pantene Beautiful Lengths smoothing hair balm, CoverGirl BB creams, foundations, Herbal Essences hair styling products, Infusium conditioner and leave-in treatments, Miss Jessie’s hair products, Olay anti-aging creams, face washes and moisturizers; CoverGirl foundation makeup, blushes, pressed powders, bronzers, and eye shadows. Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and 4-Methyl-2-pentanone are included in your company’s fragrance palette. This means butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and 4-Methyl-2-pentanone may be present in any P&G product that lists fragrance on the label. Available at https://secure3.convio.net/bcf/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction....

[3] Susan Duty et al, “Personal Care Product Use Predicts Urinary Concentrations of Some Phthalate Monoesters,” Environmental Health Perspectives 113: 1530-1535, doi:10.1289/ehp.8083, 18 July 2005.

[4] Sheela Sathyanarayana et al, “Baby Care Products: Possible Sources of Infant Phthalate Exposure,” Pediatrics 121: e260-e268, doi:10.1542/peds.2006-3766, 1 February 2008.

[5] ASTDR, Toxicologial Profile for Toluene, September 2000. Available at: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp56.pdf. Accessed April 4, 2016.

[6] Veldhoen N, Skirrow RC, Osachoff H, Wigmore H, Clapson DJ, Gunderson MP, Van Aggelen G, Helbing CC. 2007. The bactericidal agent triclosan modulates thyroid hormone-associated gene expression and disrupts postembryonic anuran development. Aquat Toxicol. 2006 Dec 1;80(3):217-27. Epub 2006 Sep 29.

[7] Routledge EJ, Parker J, Odum J, Ashby J, Sumpter JP, 1998. "Some alkyl hydroxy benzoate preservatives (parabens) are estrogenic.," Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 1998 Nov;153(1):12-9.

[8] Fortune, Telling the truth pays: Jessica Alba's Honest Company is worth $1.7 billion, http://fortune.com/2015/08/14/jessica-alba-honest-valuation/, viewed February 15, 2016.

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