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CONSUMER GROUP FORCES NAIL POLISH INDUSTRY TO REMOVE HARMFUL CHEMICAL IN MAJOR LEGAL SETTLEMENT

 Procter & Gamble, Cosmair, Del Labs Are Among Settling Companies
 SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Women will no longer need to worry about the health effects of toluene from nail polish thanks to the legal efforts of As You Sow (AYS), a San Francisco-based environmental and consumer foundation that in less than six months, forced a recalcitrant $20 billion a year cosmetic industry, including giants Procter & Gamble (maker of Cover Girl and Max Factor) and Cosmair (maker of L'Oreal and Lancome) to reformulate their entire line of nail polish products.
 With precedent-setting legal settlements approved yesterday by the San Francisco Superior Court, 17 more major U.S. nail polish manufacturers and the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CTFA), an industry trade group, agreed to reformulate nail polish products to eliminate the highly toxic chemical, toluene. Toluene has been linked to birth defects and is currently ranked as the 37th most dangerous chemical by the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Control.
 The settlement was in response to a lawsuit filed in April by Clifford A. Chanler of Chanler & Associates, legal counsel for AYS against 43 nail polish makers for failure to comply with California's Proposition 65 law which requires a health warning on consumer products containing toluene or other toxic chemicals. Twenty-five other nail polish makers have previously settled with the group.
 Thomas Van Dyck, AYS founder and president said, "We are delighted that the nail polish companies have chosen to remove this toxic chemical from their products. This action is an important step in advancing our foundation's goal of encouraging, and if necessary, forcing companies to manufacture safer products."
 "This is a tremendous victory for women's health and for increasing public awareness of the dangers of toxic chemicals found in everyday household products," added Ms. Benay Lazo, executive director of AYS. The group plans to award grants to nonprofit groups to increase public awareness concerning the dangers of toluene and other toxic chemicals.
 Attorney Chanler said, "We are extremely pleased that we were able to consummate this excellent result so swiftly. Now that toluene- containing nail polish will be eliminated in California, we are optimistic that the nail polish companies will use their reformulated, toluene-free polish throughout the rest of the country."
 The California law does not ban toluene, but requires manufacturers to provide a warning for products containing the chemical. Companies who did not comply with the Jan. 1, 1992 deadline faced fines as high as $2,500 for each bottle sold. Most manufacturers have chosen to reformulate their product instead of providing the warning label. The settlement calls for all nail polish manufacturers to pay AYS for costs and fees incurred in investigating and enforcing the action.
 Companies agreeing to the settlement yesterday include Procter & Gamble, Cosmair, Inc., Del Laboratories (maker of Sally Hansen polishes), Amway Corporation, The Princess Marcella Borghese, Inc., Clarins U.S.A. Inc., Mavala S.A., and Johnson Products Company. Last month, Mr. Chanler announced that AYS had made similar settlements with other major companies including Revlon, Maybelline, Christian Dior, Elizabeth Arden and Chesebrough Ponds (Maker of Cutex).
 In a collateral action yesterday, the CTFA withdrew its industry sponsored countersuit against AYS. Further, the CTFA agreed to located and notify all additional companies who manufacture nail polish product using toluene and advise them of the settlement agreement and their responsibilities under Proposition 65. These companies may "opt in" to the agreement by committing to reformulate and pay a specified sum of money.
 The California Environmental Protection Agency says high exposure to toluene can cause "toluene embryopathy," a condition resulting in reduced fetal weight and head size and facial deformities in infants. AYS research studies revealed that women painting their nails may be exposed to as mush as 600,000 micrograms of toluene each time they polish their nails, a level 88 times greater than the threshold level triggering a warning.
 The group is also investigating Proposition 65 toluene violations by more than 50 manufacturers of spray paints and contact cements.
 AYS is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to promoting public awareness of environmental toxins in consumer products.
 -0- 8/31/93
 /CONTACT: Clifford Chanler of Chanler & Associates, 415-391-1122/


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WB-SM -- NY001A -- 7613 08/31/93 15:47 EDT
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Date:Aug 31, 1993
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