Beauty companies working to remove possibly harmful chemicals from products
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. Recent tests have revealed that beauty companies are making progress in removing phthalates from products, according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a national coalition of environmental and women’s groups.
The chemicals, known as phthalates, are used in many everyday beauty and personal care products and have sparked some concern among several advocacy groups, health experts and policymakers who have called for the removal of such chemicals. Some research has shown that phthalates may be linked to asthma, birth defects, early puberty and decreased sperm counts.
According to the coalition, a new round of tests, conducted in fall 2008, reveal that at least some segment of the beauty industry has made progress in removing phthalates.
The tests follow up on a 2002 report, titled “Not Too Pretty,” which revealed that 72 percent of popular cosmetic products tested‹including shampoos, deodorants, fragrances and other products‹contained phthalates.
In the original tests, 12 products were shown to contain more than one phthalate and five products contained very high levels of diethyl phthalate (DEP). For the new tests, an independent lab analyzed those same products and nine of those products had reduced or eliminated phthalates.
The non-profit group did note that some companies continue to put high levels of the chemicals into fragrance.
“After decades of irresponsible use of phthalates, some companies are finally getting the message that consumers don?t want to rub and spray these toxic chemicals on our bodies,” said Lisa Archer, national coordinator of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. “However, the problem is not solved. Some companies are still using high levels of phthalates, even though safer alternatives are available.”
Industry members and federal officials, however, have stated that the risk to humans is low, if not null.
Research by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel, established by the Personal Care Products Council (formerly known as the CTFA), has found that phthalates as used in cosmetics are safe.
The PCPC has further stated that government data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention demonstrate that human exposure levels to phthalates are far below minimum safety levels set by regulatory agencies.
Even if there is exposure, phthalates break down quickly and are excreted.
Physicians Formula increases credit facility
AZUSA, Calif. Beauty company Physicians Formula has entered into a third amendment to its existing senior credit agreement with Union Bank of California, N.A. to increase the credit facility by $5 million to $25 million.
The applicable interest rates on the revolving credit facility remain the same at LIBOR plus 1.75 percent or a base rate plus 0.25 percent.
As of Sept. 30, the company had $2 million of outstanding indebtedness under its revolving credit facility, no letters of credit and $18 million available for borrowing under its revolving credit facility and $11.3 million of borrowings under the term loan facility.
The amendment also amends the maximum total leverage ratio covenant and the minimum net worth covenant, and imposes a condition that any time the company makes a repurchase of common stock, it must have minimum availability under its revolving credit facility after giving effect to the repurchase.
“We are very pleased to have successfully expanded our credit agreement in the current credit market environment and believe this underscores the confidence our lenders have in our business platform and ability to execute on our future strategies,” said Joseph Jaeger, chief financial officer of Physicians Formula. “This increase combined with our expected future operating cash flow will provide additional financial flexibility for the future.”
Vaseline launches campaign for prescription-strength therapeutic lotion
ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. Unilever’s Vaseline brand has launched an integrated campaign for its new Clinical Therapy Prescription-Strength Lotion. Kicking off the campaign were residents of Kodiak, Ala.
As previously reported by Drug Store News, the new Vaseline Clinical Therapy, currently available over-the-counter at retail with a suggested retail price of $5.49, promises to provide instant relief, long lasting protection and sustained recovery to dry skin.
To help prove the efficacy of Clinic Therapy Lotion, Vaseline turned to Petal Ruch, mother of four, vocal instructor and resident of Kodiak, a town with a population of 6,000 people. As part of the “Prescribe the Nation” campaign, if she liked the lotion, she could then “prescribe” it to anyone else she thought needed the product. Nearly 1,000 members of the community were prescribed in the first two weeks. Many of these people’s stories will be featured in the ad campaign created by Bartle Bogle Hegarty, running on morning, primetime and cable TV and in magazines such as Prevention, Shape and Self.
To drive consumer engagement, Vaseline partnered with OgilvyOne to create the prescribethenation.com Web site. Visitors to the site can track the spread of the lotion nationwide, download coupons and watch videos of Kodiak residents sharing their skin stories.
On the site consumers can also enter the “Prescribe the Nation” sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip for four to Alaska by creating digital postcards that prescribe a caring message and Clinical Therapy to those they care about. No purchase is necessary. The sweepstakes ends Feb. 26, 2009.
Vaseline has also partnered with the Everyday Health Network, an online health destination. Vaseline will have editorial and sponsored skin care content. There is also a Q&A section with Everyday Health skin care expert Dr. Jessica Wu and online polls. In addition, Wu will participate in public relations efforts to announce the Vaseline Clinical Therapy driest skin cities list and provide winter skin tips.
The campaign is also being supported through in-store marketing initiatives including live in-store education and demonstrations, at-shelf sampling, in-store signage and displays, online retail samples and instant redeemable coupons. The initiatives began in October and will expand into 2009.