No thanks to the gaping loopholes in public-health laws, cosmetics companies have had free reign to use any ingredient they want in their products, from sunscreen to baby shampoo, without any restrictions or requirements for safety testing. In fact, nearly 90 percent of the 10,500 personal-care-product ingredients known to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not been evaluated for safety by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, the FDA, or any other publicly accountable institution, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
Organic And Sustainable Industry Standards (OASIS), the first organic standard for the U.S. beauty and personal-care market, wants to bring you some peace of mind, especially when it comes to organic product claims, which can get confusing as more companies resort to greenwashing to sell their wares.With the support of 30 founding members—including Aveda, Earth Mama Angel Baby, Nature's Baby, Perfect Organics, and Suki—OASIS was formed in response to the rapidly growing organic beauty and personal-care industry, one that now accounts for roughly 15 percent of the personal-care market.
"Along with many of the founding members of Oasis I have had been working for the past 10 years to certify organic products in this fragmented market," says Tim Kapsner, a founding member of OASIS and senior research scientist for Aveda, in a press release. "Until today, the U.S. has not had a dedicated organic standard for the beauty and personal care industry."
In absence of a true industry standard, Kapsner notes, companies started applying the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Organic food standards for beauty and personal-care ingredients and products—standards that were never designed for the industry in the first place. "Its strict guidelines limit even certain types of 'green chemistry' and pose significant challenges for those seeking to create certified organic products," Kapsner adds.
Across the pond, EcoCert, the current prevailing European standard and certification, requires a minimum of 10 percent certified-organic content for products to make the cut. At launch time, OASIS will require 85 percent certified-organic content, which the organization expects to become more readily available as the industry continues to evolve.