Thursday, July 31, 2008

More on the FDA globalization act and "Safe Cosmetics"

Many of our clients and friends are members of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. After all, who doesn't want the products we sell to be safe, and to be publicly allied with an organization dedicated to removing toxic substances from products we use daily?

This week the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics not only drafted a petition to Congress endorsing the FDA Globalization Act, but asking that its provisions be strengthened.

Their Petition asks Congress to change the law so that any manufacturer must obtain pre-market approval of every single cosmetic product. That's tantamount to regulating cosmetics like drugs are currently regulated. The link to the House Committee considering this draft law is here:

The draft law is burdensome and discriminatory to small and woman-owned businesses. You can see the Campaign's Petition here: This Petition was announced without consulting with any of the signers to the Compact. Any signer of the Compact, by implication, is assumed to support the Campaign's position to drastically change the law as outlined above. Do not sign the Campaign's Petition if you support small businesses!

While we all support educating consumers and protecting them from unsafe products, this law will not serve that purpose. Instead, it will stamp out competition and return our customers to the days when all they could choose from are Dial Soap and Oil of Olay. It will also more than likely make it impossible for Nature's Gift to make available our range of products, since we can not possibly to the "pre release safety testing" that would be required. We believe that the petition on the Compact for Safe Cosmetics site is counterproductive to the goal of increasing the use of safe cosmetics and skincare products and will do more harm than good to small natural product businesses. If the industry is regulated to the degree they are calling for, small businesses would exit the marketplace in droves because they can't pay excessive fees and comply with burdensom, unfair and unnecessary paperwork.

If you are one of the several hundred signees of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics compact you can contact them, stating your opposition to their petition, and asking that your name (or your company's name) be removed from their list.

Oppose This Law!! Sign The Petition Against This Law The Indie Beauty Network, a trade orgranization representing 700+ small cosmetics manufacturers is leading the charge against this law. So far, over 1,500 cosmetics companies, their customers and concerned citizens have signed a Petition released by IBN. You can watch the video, read the Petition and sign it here (Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page to see the comment section, and be sure to leave you name, city, state and zip.)IBN's July 24, 2008, letter to the Congress persons on the House Energy & Commerce Committee can be viewed here:

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Political Post - Free Tibet

Years ago a group of Tibetan Monks came through Nashville, on a mission dedicated to cleansing the world. They spent a week creating a stunning mandala on a table top, created by sifting colored sands in a pattern I couldn't recognize. Several of us visited them daily, watching the growth of the Mandala. On the last day, when the work of art was finished, they prayed over it, then took brushes and carefully brushed away the beauty they had created. Each of us there was given a tiny bag of the multicolored sand, blessed with their prayers. (I wear mine in an Essendulum) We formed a procession walking to the nearest point of the Cumberland River, where the sand, dedicated to the cleansing of the natural world, was poured into the water, to be carried to the oceans. It was a deeply moving ceremony, even though I understood little about their faith.

Since then, I've been moved to study the life and writings of the Dalai Lama, and have come to believe that he is one of the greatest spiritual leaders and wisest humans of our generation.

His country, Tibet, is under the rule of China. The people of Tibet are forbidden to practice their faith, and their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, is forced to lead from exile.

At the beginning of the Beijing Olympics an international light protest is being held to symbolize the desire that Tibet be freed. Those who support this cause are asked to do one simple light a candle at 9:00 PM on the night of August

From the Candle for Tibet website:

August 7th 2008 is the day before the opening ceremony of The Olympic Games in Beijing. On this day we aim to create the world's greatest LIGHT PROTEST, when at least 100 million people from all over the world will light a candle and say YES to freedom in Tibet!

All you are asked to do is to light a simple candle on August 7th at 9 pm in your own time zone.

Light the Candle at your home, workplace or in a public place. Put the candle in your Window, or on your desk, or anywhere else where other people will see it and hopefully do the same.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Wrong Policy, Wrong Law, Wrong Time

Congress is currently considering the Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act of 2008. Now, we are all in favor of keeping our food, cosmetics, prescription drugs, etc. Safe. And we know what a wonderful job the FDA has done in the past. (Yes, I'm being sarcastic, probably from watching food item after food item being recalled, or warned against.)

Next to be controlled and safeguarded for our protection is the cosmetics industry. The legislation is aimed at giving the FDA authority to promulgate new regulations that are supposed to protect consumers and also provide the funding the agency needs to enforce existing laws in a global market. You can read the full text of the draft legislation here:

The proposed legislation would, among other things:

1. Require all cosmetics companies serving American consumers to register annually with the FDA, and pay a registration fee of $2,000 per facility per year, and to list in its registration the cosmetics it manufactures, processes, packs or holds, and also, for manufacturers, to list all ingredients in each product contained in the registration listing.

2. Require all cosmetics companies to report to the FDA "serious adverse events" resulting from the use of the products.

3. Require all cosmetics companies to comply with the FDA's Good Manufacturing Practices.

4. Require all companies that import cosmetics to register annually with the FDA, and pay another registration fee ($10,000) to do so.

5. Give the FDA authority to levy substantial fines for violations of the new requirements.

How does this affect us, and how does it affect you?

Because it is illegal to make any therapeutic claims for our products, the essential oils and other natural products that we import are "For use in cosmetics and perfume." The blends that we manufacture and make available are for cosmetic use. Thus we fall under the "umbrella" of a cosmetics company.

Now, after 15 years in business, Nature's Gift can afford an annual $2000 registration fee. But...if we have to list every product once a year, what does that do for new products? New oils, new blends, new ideas. Sorry, wait until next year.

We are importers more than we are manufacturers. The $10,000 import fee will add to the already increasing costs we pay to bring in the products we make available.

More than that...many of our clients are where I was 15 - 18 years ago. A passion for creating soaps, or perfumes, or healing salves or whatever... Giving them to friends, and being asked to make more to sell. Just starting out in a business. Anyone who creates any of these sort of products for resale will be covered by this proposed bill. I know that for our first few years in business, I could not have paid to register Nature's Gift.

Even if you are not in business ... if you are ordering for your own personal use or for family and friends you will still be affected if this act closes. Do you purchase from small independent businesses? Do you enjoy the benefits of handmade toiletries, soaps or cosmetics? This proposed act will put many of your favorite small businesses out of business, taking away your freedom of choice, your freedom to decide where to purchase.

If you want to get involved in trying to stop this proposed legislation, which I believe is the wrong policy, the wrong law, at the wrong time there are at least two actions you can take.

1. You may call or write your congressman and/or senators and voice your concerns about and opposition to the Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act of 2008.

2 You may watch the video DonnaMaria Coles Johnson, founder and president of the Handmade Beauty Network has prepared to explain some of the problems with the bill, and find suggestions of action you can take.

3. You may sign the petition hosted by the Independent Business Blog. Please go to the end of the list of comments (the bottom of the page) to add your comment. Please add your city and state so that your comment will be counted and taken seriously.

Thanks for your time and attention. We love what we do at Nature's Gift, and would like to continue to be allowed to do it.