The move to define “natural."

The move to define “natural."

The word natural has been slapped on labels without any real proof. Credo and Representative Maloney thought “that’s just not right”  And it wasn’t…see what’s happening now.

By Mia Davis

Great news! Last week  Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) introduced the landmark Natural Cosmetics Act. This bill defines the terms “natural” and “naturally-derived ingredient” as used in skin care and beauty products. Because (did you know this?) there currently is no legal definition for these often used terms. There hasn’t been a major federal update to cosmetics regulation in over 80 years. And under the 1938 Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, falsely labeling products as “natural” (or over-stating a product’s “natural-ness”) is not something that the Food and Drug Administration can take action on.

As a part of the Credo Clean Standard, we outline the terms “natural” and “naturally-derived” and ask our 120 brand partners to be in sync with our definitions when describing or marketing their ingredients or products. The source of an ingredient plus honesty and transparency around ingredients--are both core parts of “clean beauty.” So implying something is natural when it actually is not would be out of compliance with the Credo Clean Standard--but this isn’t the case for brands selling elsewhere. The companies that are “greenwashing” their products should be held accountable, as this practice is unfair to the consumer and to the brands doing their due diligence to make cleaner, more natural products.

“Right now, the FDA doesn’t consider it misbranding for companies to label products as ‘natural,’ even if they contain toxins like coal tar, asbestos, and other harmful chemicals. That’s just not right,” said  Rep. Maloney. “We’re talking about the safety and health of millions of Americans who use these products. My bill will set the standard for ‘natural’ personal care products and do right by American consumers by putting transparency first.”

The Natural Cosmetics Act states that products represented as “natural” must contain at least 70 percent natural substances (excluding water) to use the term. (And the other 30% can’t be full of toxic chemicals, either.) To maintain accountability the bill requires suppliers to conduct Carbon-14 testing which they must submit to manufacturers. The bill would also give the FDA authority to issue a cease distribution order, which is a whole new level of power for the agency that is in charge of this industry, but is usually hamstrung since the 1938 bill doesn’t allow it to do much.

Credo was glad to be a part of the group of companies and environmental health organizations working with Rep Maloney’s team on this important bill. We will bring you more information about the Natural Cosmetics Act as it moves through the many steps that any public policy goes through. Stay tuned!

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