Shareholders to vote on resolution for Avon to 'ditch toxic cosmetics'

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Shareholders to vote on resolution for Avon to 'ditch toxic cosmetics'

Related tags Safe cosmetics Cosmetics

Shareowners are set to vote today at Avon's annual general meeting in New York on a resolution requesting that the company remove hazardous chemicals from its cosmetics filed by Green Century Capital Management.

According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the resolution is calling on the company to substitute safer alternatives for “dangerous chemicals used in their beauty products that have been linked to cancer, reproductive harm, and other serious diseases.”

Consumer demand is rising for cosmetics that are free from hazardous chemicals linked to cancer and other diseases. By ignoring this global market trend, Avon risks ruining its business and reputation by refusing to give consumers what they want: safe cosmetics​,” says Sarada Tangirala, Grassroots Coordinator with CSC.

The brand has already taken steps in this area..

Despite the filing of this resolution, Avon is amongst cosmetic companies to have taken steps to eliminate dangerous chemicals from its products in recent years.

In 2004, the company announced it would comply with the European Union ban on dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and in 2005, the brand said it would no longer use diethyl phthalate (DEP) in its fragrances. By 2010, it had made the decision to no longer use propyl and butyl parabens in new products.

Today, the CSC reckons the cosmetic giant’s products still contain chemicals that may be harmful to consumers.

"Triethanolamine, which is found in several Avon children’s products, can break down into nitrosamines, carcinogenic chemicals banned from cosmetics in Europe and Canada,​" the campaign gave as an example.

CSC's ambition to phase out certain chemicals

Just last year the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics challenged five major cosmetic and personal care companies to phase-out or reduce the use of certain chemicals in their products.

The move came after Johnson & Johnson announced it had set an internal target date that by the end of 2015 it will have reduced or eliminated formaldehyde releasers, certain parabens, 1,4-dioxane, triclosan, diethyl phthalate (DEP) and five fragrance chemicals from all of its products.

That campaign again homed in on Avon, as well as Estée Lauder, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever, and according to its co-founder Lisa Archer at the time; "is a major victory for public health​.”

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