The so-called Compact campaign has been organized to highlight the negative effects of certain ingredients on human health with the aim of introducing safer alternatives within the next three years.
Its campaign highlights the fact that currently the US Food and Drug Administration does not review or regulate cosmetics products or ingredients for safety before they are sold to the public, as well as the fact that there is no legal authority to enforce any such regulation.
"The companies that have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics are really leading the way toward safer products and healthier people," said Cindy Luppi, organizing director for Clean Water Action in Boston and one of the founding members of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. "We're moving in the right direction, but ultimately the FDA needs to step up and take responsibility for public health."
The group has lauded California governor Arnold Schwarzeneggar's move to introduce a Cosmetics Bill in the US, outlawing ingredients that are known to be carcinogenic or to have damaging effects to the human reproduction process.
The Bill, which was introduced at the start of this year, is also expected to have implications on a national level, forcing manufacturers outside of California to comply with the regulations and also putting pressure on reforms at a federal level.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is aiming to achieve the goal of reform on a national level and says that big cosmetics names to sign up for the campaign have included Burt's Bees and The Body Shop.
More recent additions to that list have included Aveda founder Horst Rechelbacher's new company, Intelligent Nutrients and celebrity aesthetician brands Crush Goove Cosmetics and Mi Amore Skin care, which have given further credence to the campaign and helped push the number of signees over the 500 mark.
However, where the campaign is having to really apply the pressure is some of the world's largest cosmetic producers - including names such as Proctor & Gamble, Estee Lauder, Revlon and L'Oreal - who have all refused to sign the agreement, stating that the stipulations are too difficult for them to meet.
In particular these larger cosmetic players have cited plans that aim to find alternative substances to those that are highlighted in the campaign, as well as conducting a comprehensive inventory on all ingredients using chemicals that pose health hazards and found in products on sales in the US as being particularly hurdles to their further involvement.