Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) was formed by a group of visionary women leaders in Missoula, Montana in 1995. Seeing that many environmental organizations at the time failed to include women in leadership positions and did not fully recognize the systemic connections between health, class, race, and the environment, WVE sought to create a new environmental organization led by women.
Our mission: Women’s Voices for the Earth amplifies women’s voices to eliminate the toxic chemicals that harm our health and communities.
The Story of a Healthy Future
- Releases our Beyond the Label Report on the most pervasive and problematic ingredients still present in cleaning products, highlighting the heavier burden on workers who clean homes and businesses.
- Hosts our first annual Vaginal Health Week, that spotlights a panel discussion featuring experts on vaginal health and the harmful ingredients and messaging associated with intimate cleansing products, especially for women and girls of color.
- WVE and EWG join salon workers from around the nation to petition the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban dangerous hair straighteners that contain formaldehyde.
- Members of our People Against Quats (PAQ) action group help two schools and one workplace switch from toxic disinfectants to safer & effective alternatives.
- Convinces the Cosmetics Ingredient Review panel (CIR) to address aerosol exposures from certain cosmetics (specifically airbrush cosmetics). This has also generated new attention and changes to the boilerplate language that the CIR has long used to discount the potential hazards of inhaling cosmetics.
- Launches a fellowship program to train, resource and support high-school and college-aged activists – the next generation of environmental health leaders.
- Moves the American Cleaning Institute to incorporated guidelines from our Health First Roadmap into their sustainability guidelines, showing that the cleaning industry is taking calls for health and safety seriously.
- Conducts public education on disinfectants and Covid-19, holding a webinar for members, sharing information on social media, and facilitating a leadership group for concerned advocates, People Against Quats.
- Moves the makers of Summer’s Eve to stop using 10 chemicals of concern in their intimate care products.
- Holds 15 (virtual) ‘Our Stories, Our Flow’ workshops to destigmatize menstruation and get people to talk about and take action for access to safe and healthy period products.
- Partners with Black Women for Wellness and over 200 international orgs to speak out about Johnson & Johnson’s offloading harmful talc-based baby powders on Black and Brown communities around the world.
- Successfully advocates for a bill, SB 312, in California which requires the disclosure of fragrance ingredients in personal care, retail cosmetics and professional salon products.
- Releases the Health First Roadmap – a comprehensive and dynamic tool which provides specific guidance to cleaning product manufacturers on how to choose safer ingredients and ensure the chemical safety of their products.
- Circulates an open letter to Prestige Consumer Healthcare signed by leading scientists, researchers and academics urging the company to eliminate toxic chemicals and disclose all ingredients in their Summer’s Eve brand.
- Passes ground-breaking right to know bill in New York, making it the first state in the nation to require period product makers to disclose ingredients.
- Launches Our Stories, Our Flow – a series of community workshops that center and de-stigmatize the way we talk about, understand & experience safe, healthy periods.
- Releases a comprehensive timeline – What’s in Period Products — of chemical testing done throughout the world on tampons, pads, and menstrual cups.
- Launches Parents Against Quats (PAQ) – a national action group of concerned parents and caregivers who are taking action to eliminate or reduce children’s exposure to quats in schools and child care facilities.
- Releases new fact sheet, raising concerns about the use of nanosilver in menstrual products like period underwear and pads.
- Moves Summer’s Eve to remove harmful colorants from their vaginal washes, as well as specific preservatives linked to cancer.
- Passes victory for worker and consumer health in California, AB 2775, requiring manufacturers to disclose ingredients on the labels of professional cosmetics. The bill was co-sponsored by WVE, California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, Black Women for Wellness and Breast Cancer Prevention Partners
- Hosts rally at Prestige Brands Headquarters (makers of Summer’s Eve products) to protest against manipulative marketing, toxic products, and poor ingredient disclosure that puts women’s health at risk. WVE delivers petition signatures signed by over 15,000 in support of the #SummersDeceive campaign.
- Commissions and releases product-testing results of undisclosed toxic chemicals in tampons, further confirming the need for ingredient disclosure to better protect public health.
- Releases new data on fragrance ingredients, revealing a third of all fragrance chemicals currently in use are either known to be toxic, or considered potentially toxic by scientists around the world.
- Launches Quit the Quats campaign, raising concerns about the use of antibacterial chemicals commonly found in disinfecting products like wipes, sprays, and all-purpose cleaners.
- Releases in-depth investigative report on the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Panel’s failure to protect the pubic and manufacturers.
- Releases open letter to the makers of Summer’s Eve, calling into the ingredients found in Summer’s Eve products. The letter is signed and supported by leading environmental, health, and justice organizations across the nation.
- Launches “Summer’s Deceive” campaign and video series, calling out toxic marketing and toxic chemicals found in Summer’s Eve feminine wipes.
- Moves Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest consumer products company, to voluntarily start disclosing all fragrance ingredients above 0.01% in their products, including feminine care, cleaning and personal care products. Procter & Gamble’s announcement followed that of Unilever (Dove, Lever 2000, Ponds) which launched a similar disclosure policy.
- Passes ground-breaking legislation in California. SB 258, The Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017, requires disclosure of ingredients used in institutional and household cleaning products on product label and online. The bill was authored by Senator Lara and sponsored by Women’s Voices for the Earth, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Environmental Working Group (EWG).
- Hosts a rally in Washington, DC to increase awareness of the need for feminine care product safety and demonstrate a grassroots show of support for federal legislation aimed at closing serious gaps in feminine hygiene regulation. The rally garners national media attention and lands features in The New York Times, Washington Post and more.
- Co-sponsors first-of-its-kind bill in California, with California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, Black Women for Wellness, and Californians for a Healthy & Green Economy (CHANGE), that requires manufacturers to disclose ingredients on the labels of professional cosmetics.
- Commissions and releases a GreenScreen® analysis of the fragrance chemical, Galaxolide, revealing the chemical is highly toxic to aquatic life and persistent, meaning is does not break down easily in the environment.
- Moves SC Johnson and Son (Glade®, Windex®, Pledge®) to agree to transition away from using Galaxolide in their products.
- Files a joint lawsuit with Environmental Working Group (EWG) against the Food and Drug Administration for its failure to protect the public and professional salon workers from dangers associated with popular hair straightening treatments.
- Releases the fact sheet and info-graphic “The Rub with Feminine Wipes” on toxic chemicals found in some feminine wipes, their potential impact on women’s health, as well as environmental impacts. (English and Español)
- Releases the fact sheet “Slippery Slope: Potential Hazards of Lubricants for Women” on the safety of lubricants.
- Petitions the FDA to address harmful colorants in vaginal washes, highlighting that colorants found in some washes come in contact with vaginal mucous membranes –violating the FDA’s use restrictions. WVE’s petition garners support from Congresswoman Grace Meng.
- Moves two of the world’s largest manufacturers of feminine care products — Procter & Gamble and Kimberly Clark — to start disclosing ingredients used in their tampons and pads.
- Releases first of its kind report, Unpacking the Fragrance Industry: Policy Failures, the Trade Secret Myth and Public Health, on the failures of the fragrance industry’s self-regulated safety program.
- Releases the info-graphic “What’s the Delay, FDA?” that juxtaposes the failure of the FDA to recall dangerous hair straightening products with bans from states and the international community.
- Releases Deep Clean: What the Cleaning Industry Should be doing to Protect Your Health a report that rates companies on ingredient transparency and the transparency of their chemical screening process.
- Convinces SC Johnson & Son to disclose all fragrance ingredients down to .09% in their products.
- Releases “Detox the Box” video to highlight toxics in feminine products.
- Works with Representative Maloney (D-NY) to introduce the Robin Danielson Feminine Hygiene Safety Act.
- Tests Procter and Gamble’s Always pads, finding hidden carcinogens, reproductive toxins and neurotoxins.
- Releases Beauty and Its Beast: Unmasking the Impacts of Toxic Chemicals on Salon Workers a report that documents the impact of exposure to toxic chemicals on salon worker health.
- Organizes the third annual Healthy Salons Week of Action in Washington DC, with salon workers, to collectively advocate for increased salon worker health, safety and rights.
- Moves Procter and Gamble to reformulate and drastically reduce the carcinogen 1,4 dioxane from their laundry detergents.
- Releases Secret Scents: How Hidden Fragrance Allergens Harm Public Health, moving Simple Green, Clorox, and Reckitt-Benckiser to agree to disclose hidden allergens in fragrance.
- Releases Chem Fatale: Potential Health Effects of Toxic Chemicals in Feminine Care Products.
- Receives Women’s Empowerment Award from GreatNonprofits.
- Through the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, convinces Johnson & Johnson to phase out chemicals that can cause cancer and harm health from all of its products in 57 countries.
- Releases Dirty Secrets: What’s Hiding in Your Cleaning Products, a report revealing hidden toxic chemicals in top brand name cleaners.
- Convinces FDA and OSHA to issue a warning letter and hazard alert on the formaldehyde-containing Brazilian Blowout.
- Convinces Clorox to disclose all ingredients in their products, including a master list of fragrance ingredients, and to remove synthetic musks.
- Convinces SC Johnson to disclose all ingredients (except fragrance).
- Organizes the Congressional briefing “Toxic Exposures in Salons” in support of the Safe Cosmetics Act.
- Releases What’s That Smell, a report on toxic chemicals in fragrance.
- Convinces Simple Green to remove phthalates & synthetic musks from products.
- Co-releases Not So Sexy on toxic chemicals in leading perfumes and cologne and No Silver Lining on BPA in common canned goods.
- Convinces SC Johnson & Son to remove phthalates and disclose all of the ingredients in their cleaning products on a website.
- Releases Disinfectant Overkill, report on health impacts linked to overuse of disinfectant products.
- Co-releases reports Phasing out the Toxic Trio: a Review of Popular Nail Polish Brands and No More Toxic Tub.
- WVE joins Earthjustice in suing four leading cleaning product manufacturers for failing to comply with a New York law that requires them to disclose the ingredients they use in their products.
- Sets an industry precedent by inﬂuencing the Soap and Detergent Association and the Consumer Specialty Products Association to release an ingredient communication plan.
- Creates WVE’s Green Cleaning Party Kits.
- Releases The Dirt on Cleaning Product Companies, rating companies on their use and disclosure of toxic chemicals in cleaners.
- Releases A Little Prettier, a report on companies’ declining use of phthalates in personal care products & cosmetics with the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
- Co-founds the National Healthy Nail & Beauty Salon Alliance.
- Releases Household Hazards, the first report to expose undisclosed toxic chemicals in retail cleaning products.
- Releases Glossed Over report on toxic chemicals in nail products and health impacts to salon workers.
- Convinces OPI Inc., the largest global manufacturer of nail products for salons, to eliminate several major chemicals of concern from their products.
- Organizes grassroots campaign in MT & ID, to convince supermarket chain, Albertsons Inc., to post visible warnings about mercury contamination in ﬁsh.
- Park County Garbage Incinerator, the last one in MT, closed!
- Boise VA Medical Center idles use of their medical waste incinerator in response to WVE’s grassroots campaign.
- WVE, Coalition for Safe Lab & Friends of the Bitterroot reach settlement with National Institutes of Health on lawsuit regarding BL4 bioterrorism lab in Hamilton, MT. Ensures greater community safety protections.
- Publishes Hardrock Mining: Risks to Community Health
- Co-founds the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition of women’s, public health, labor, environmental health and consumer‐rights groups.
- WVE and others press National Park Service to issue public health advisory due to snowmobile pollution in Yellowstone.
- Nationwide breastmilk study of PBDEs published by EWG – includes two Montana moms.
- Co-releases report, Not Too Pretty, and runs full page ad in the New York Times exposing cosmetics products containing phthalates.
- WVE organizes 120 public viewings of Bill Moyers’ Trade Secrets exposing chemical industry cover-ups.
- MT Legislature passes Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Act sponsored by Rep. Gail Gutsche
- Publishes Breast Cancer: An Unchecked Epidemic.
- WVE Staff Bryony Schwan testifies at EPA’s Science Advisory Board meeting on Dioxin in Washington DC.
- WVE lobbies at United Nations Treaty Negotiations on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS) conference in Johannesburg, South Africa.
- Fort Harrison medical waste incinerator in Helena, MT shuts down days before WVE hosts expert forum on the hazards of incineration.
- WVE and MEIC win precedent setting lawsuit affirming Montanans “fundamental right to a clean and healthful environment”.
- WVE launches campaign on PVC plastic children’s toys.
- WVE Board member Christine Kaufmann and WVE Staff Gail Gutsche elected to MT Legislature.
- Inducted into the Grassroots Hall of Fame.
- Train derailment in Alberton, MT causes 2nd largest chlorine spill in US history. WVE assists evacuees, forming group Alberton Community Evacuees (ACE).
1995 – WVE Founded
- Hosts Finding Common Ground: Gender, Justice and the Environment Conference.