Whether you’ve recently joined WVE or you’ve been with us since the ‘90s, thank you. 2020 marked our 25 anniversary, and 25 years of working to protect the health of women and our planet. Back in 1995, we opened our doors with a mission to ‘build bridges with each other, strengthen our collective voice and work to create a society that is ecologically sustainable and socially just.’ With a budget of only $9000 and a staff of two, we started locally—reducing pollution from a nearby container mill, stopping a proposed goldmine on Montana’s Blackfoot River, and decreasing pesticide spraying by state and local agencies.
Today, Women’s Voices for the Earth leads tens of thousands of advocates in the U.S. and beyond in taking on the toxic chemicals that harm our health and communities. Our campaigns target the chemicals linked to breast cancer, birth defects, asthma, reproductive problems and more, that are distributed to millions through products made for our homes and bodies. Thanks to you, our campaigns are making a powerful impact—you’ve helped pass health-protective laws and move some of the largest consumer product companies in the world to take notice and make changes. Let’s celebrate our accomplishments. Here’s a look back at some of the biggest WVE victories since 1995:
1999: WVE and MEIC won a precedent-setting lawsuit affirming Montanans’ “fundamental right to a clean and healthful environment.”
2002: Co-releases a report, Not Too Pretty, and ran a full-page ad in the New York Times exposing cosmetics products containing phthalates. This helped put phthalates on the map; now many manufacturers have taken it out of their products.
2004: Co-founds the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition of women’s, public health, labor, environmental health and consumer‐rights groups.
2007: Co-founds the National Healthy Nail & Beauty Salon Alliance alongside The California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative and NAPAWF.
2008: Creates our Green Cleaning Party Kits, which helped create a movement for cleaning product ingredient disclosure.
2009: Convinces SC Johnson & Son to remove phthalates and disclose all of the ingredients in their cleaning products online.
2012: Convinces SC Johnson to disclose all ingredients (except fragrance).
2012: Through the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, WVE convinces Johnson & Johnson to phase out chemicals that can cause cancer and harm health from all of its products in 57 countries.
2013: 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.
2013: Moves Procter and Gamble to reformulate and drastically reduce the carcinogen 1,4 dioxane from their laundry detergents.
2014: Convinces Clorox to disclose all ingredients in their products, including a master list of fragrance ingredients, and to remove synthetic musk.
2014: Convinces SC Johnson & Son to disclose all fragrance ingredients down to .09% in their products.
2015: 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.
2015: Moves two of the world’s largest manufacturers of period care products — Procter & Gamble and Kimberly Clark — to start disclosing ingredients used in their tampons and pads.
2017: Moves SC Johnson and Son (Glade®, Windex®, Pledge®) to agree to transition away from the use of Galaxolide in their products
2017: Passes ground-breaking legislation in California, SB 258, The Cleaning Product Right to Know Act, requiring disclosure of ingredients used in institutional and household cleaning products. 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).
2018: Moves Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest consumer products company, to start disclosing fragrance ingredients 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.
2018: Passes AB 2775 in California requiring manufacturers to disclose ingredients on the labels of professional cosmetics and salon products. The bill was co-sponsored by WVE, California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, Black Women for Wellness and Breast Cancer Prevention Partners.
2018: Moves Summer’s Eve to remove harmful colorants from their vaginal washes, as well as specific preservatives linked to cancer.
2019: Passes a 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.
Holds 15 (virtual) ‘Our Stories, Our Flow’ workshopsto destigmatize menstruation and get people to talk about and take action for access to safe and healthy period products.
2020: 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.
Successfully advocated for SB 312, a bill in California which requires the disclosure of fragrance ingredients in personal care, retail cosmetics and professional salon products.
2021: Releases the 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 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.
Launches a fellowship program to train, resource and support high-school and college-aged activists – the next generation of environmental health leaders.
Thank you for being part of our team, and making these victories happen. We have come a long way, but we still have work to do. We celebrate our history and look to the future with renewed resolve and a new strategic vision. In the coming years, we are committed to increasing our focus on shifting power through direct organizing and leadership development, making the connection between toxics and climate change, and most importantly, using the lens of justice and equality in our work.