Every time I turn around there is a new standard. Some people make “dirty lists” and call them standards but how can a two or three page list cover all the problematic chemicals used in personal care?
Some standards are laws or regulations: the Organic Rules are a regulation (law) but COSMOS is a private standard. Gluten Free is defined in FDA law so you only need a lab test to make that claim, you don’t need to necessarily pay for the certification.
What makes a good standard?
1 – RELEVANCE – Does the standard measure and promise something that is important to you and your customers?
2 – PUBLIC ACCESS – Can you find, read and understand the standard? (Some standards charge a fee to access).
3 – TRANSPARENCY – Do you know how they came up with these “rules”? Is there an opportunity for public input and amendment?
4 – THE MISSION – Is there a clear mission to the standard ,i.e., Organic, Vegan, Gluten Free.
5 – CLEAR PRINCIPLES & RULES – Is the standard based on laws, science or some other academic or ethical foundation that is broadly accepted? Example: The COSMOS standard references the organic laws and The 12 Principles of Green Chemistry.
6 – DEFINITIONS – Always read through the definitions section of any standard. Definitions are the heart of most standards.
My whole point is this: if we are really going to move forward making cosmetics that are both topically and environmentally safer, we need many voices to come together. Having individual retailers create “lists” or rules without rigorous and well vetted foundational principles supports further confusion. The cosmetic industry is based on natural and synthetic chemicals. We need the product of all those chemicals to meet our scientific and ethical expectations. Standards are one tool to help manage that.
Our choices directly impact climate change, let’s tell the chemical industry what we want in a unified voice. Want to help? Join NOHBA (www.nohba.org) and join the conversation. Hugs – Gay Timmons