Legislation, What’s your job?

Thanks to those of you who commented on the last blog post.  It’s good that you’re reading and contributing valuable feedback!

Today’s post is somewhat editorial, so please bear with me, and feel free to comment.

What goes on legislatively is important to our industry, and we can afford to be neither ignorant nor silent.  It is important for us to conduct our businesses to be compliant with our laws and to have high standards; but, it’s also important that we use our power as citizens to communicate with our congressmen and women to make them aware of our presence and the effects that the pending legislation could have on their constituents.  It’s our right and responsibility.

If you have researched the legislation (HR 5786) and wish to register your opinion regarding this issue or any other, here is a site to help you find your representative: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml.  This next link will help you locate your senator: http://whoismyrepresentative.com/search/zip/14534.

Most who are following this situation believe that cosmetic legislation will be passed.  It may not be passed this year, but will almost certainly be passed in the future.  If you’re either a user of handmade soap and cosmetics or a manufacturer, you need to explain to your government officials how you will be affected by what is being proposed.  Many of them hardly know we’re out there, much less a group to consider, so it’s our job to inform them.  We’re much more likely to have a favorable outcome than if we remain silent.  The legislation is being written with large corporations in mind, so we need to fight in order not to be overlooked in the process.

Along with political actions, educate yourself on proper labeling and good manufacturing processes so that you won’t be the person this legislation is proposed to correct.  Stand with and support those groups who are representing your interests by hiring lobbyists and traveling to Washington to meet with your representatives.  If we can influence a favorable outcome now, it will secure our rights for many years to come.

If you have spoken to your senator or representative, I hope you’ll share with us your experience.

If you don’t already subscribe to the Saponifier, now is the time.  You’ll  find information, formulas, products, and methods to help you along in your growth as a soap, candle, and toiletry-maker.  I save my issues and go back to refer to them over and over.  It’s a learning library for very reasonable amount of money at regular price, but now that we are offering a BOGO special, there’s no reason not to get on board.  Just grab a friend and sign up!  Just click here http://www.saponifier.net/index.php and follow the simple instructions.

Can’t wait to have you join the Saponifier family!

What’s Going On?

What’s going on regarding legislation of soap and cosmetics in the US?

The answer is a bit complicated.

Many groups such as EWG (Environmental Working Group) and the  Campaign for Safe Cosmetics are pushing hard for stricter laws regarding ingredients used and labeling.  If they have their way, soap and cosmetic makers will find themselves in a much different position than they stand at the moment.  Gone will be the days of the FDA’s assumption that unless proven otherwise, manufacturers are making safe products.  Instead, a more proactive approach will be adopted, whereby each manufacturer will be required to register with the government, be required to comply with certain Good Manufacturing Practices, and to register each formula.  Not only that, but labeling will become more detailed.  Not only will the ingredient be required, but possibly also the components of that ingredient.  For instance, every constituent of olive oil would have to be listed.  Each fatty acid, each phenol, ester, squalene, and so on.  You can imagine what a burden that would be.

What’s more, many ingredients could be outlawed, including some very common and natural ones.  Why?  Because natural plant products very often contain traces of substances such as lead and arsenic.  Where would this leave us?  With a very limited palate of ingredients, to be sure.

Concerned?  You should be!  Even if you don’t currently sell your products, you should be concerned for your future, and for your fellow soap and cosmetic makers.  Many would be forced out of business because the regulations would just be too strenuous for anyone but the largest of companies to maintain.  It’s quite possible that you could no longer obtain your favorite ingredients.

You might be asking how real the threat is.  The general feeling is that legislation is surely on its way.  Not this year, perhaps, but in the not-too-distant future.  Too much pressure is being put on legislators to think the bill will continue to fall through over and over again.

Who is working to prevent this from happening?  In fact, several groups and individuals are using their efforts, separately and together, to see that micro cosmetic businesses are well represented here.  Many suppliers are fighting for us, the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild has hired lobbyists to represent us, and Personal Care Truth is working to get the message out there regarding safe cosmetics.

How do you feel about this legislation?  Do you support it or oppose it?  Let us know.