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The Safe Cosmetics Act Would Protect Consumers

The Safe Cosmetics Act Would Protect Consumers

Trying to protect yourself from the toxic ingredients in some cosmetics is a task that requires you to read labels and do research on the ingredients listed on the labels. However, there are products that do not list all of the ingredients it contains. Enter the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011, or HR 2359, which would set stricter standards for the cosmetics industry. Current laws regulating the cosmetics industry have not been updated since 1938. Three Democrats, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the legislation.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate cosmetics the way it does food and drugs. The $50 billion cosmetics industry uses about 12,500 chemical ingredients, “the vast majority of which have never been assessed for safety by any publicly accountable body,” according to a fact sheet by Schakowsky. Americans use an average of 10 personal care products a day, exposing themselves to over 126 chemicals. It makes little sense to have little regulation over cosmetics.

First introduced in 2008, HR 2359 would require:

  • Stricter labeling requirements
  • Give the FDA the ability to order recalls of dangerous products
  • Conduct annual random sample tests for pathogens or contaminants in cosmetic products
  • Cosmetic companies to register with the FDA and pay a registration fee based on annual gross receipts or sales
  • The FDA to create a list of ingredients prohibited from use in cosmetics
  • Manufacturers, packagers, and distributors to provide the FDA with reports of adverse health effects associated with the use of a cosmetic
  • Companies that manufacture cosmetics for salon use to provide information on any health hazards linked with those cosmetics

HR 2359 would also allow states to set stricter standards, and give the FDA recall authority for products that are mis-branded, adulterated, or otherwise fail to meet the safety standard.

“Currently, manufacturers are not required to disclose all their ingredients on labels and the FDA has no power to supervise the use of toxic chemicals in cosmetics,” said Rep. Schakowsky. “Americans are left in the dark about harmful mystery ingredients in personal care products; consumers deserve confidence that the products that they use will not hurt them.”

“The Safe Cosmetics Act will close a gaping hole in the federal law that allows potentially toxic chemicals to remain in the cosmetic products we use every day. I look forward to working with my colleagues to move this much-needed legislation forward,” said Rep. Ed Markey.

“The health risks caused by harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde in cosmetic products demonstrate the pressing need to see that the products we use are safe.  The Safe Cosmetics Act is critical to ensuring that personal care products do not compromise the health of workers and consumers,” said Rep. Tammy Baldwin.

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75 comments

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2:16AM PST on Dec 7, 2012

Since corporations don't care what they do to their customers, I guess us customers have to demand it of them and/or just quit using cosmetics! Thanks for article!

10:40AM PDT on Sep 5, 2011

We need this! We want this!

7:42PM PDT on Jul 13, 2011

"The Safe Cosmetics Act Would Protect Consumers"

But will it also protect animals? Cosmetics testing on animals and buying the products after is not beautiful. How can anyone call cosmetics that were tested on animals, thus resulting in harm or death to the animals, safe?

10:27AM PDT on Jul 12, 2011

If I've understood correctly, the rules in the EU currently are much tighter than the rules in the U.S (and Australia, who I believe are also lobbying for a change in regulations). At present, there are several chemicals on the U.S Market that are banned in the EU. A change in law would be good.

12:41PM PDT on Jul 11, 2011

If this passes this will most likely result in more animal testing and higher product costs. I understand the need to protect ourselves but we all know that big industry will do whatever it needs to do at as little cost to them as possible.
Unfortunately given some of the past faux pas of agencies such as the FDA as well as wildly interpreted scientific data, I'm not sure how truly effective this will be in the end.
The best we can do is wisely shop for the products we use, the most effective power we have is as consumers.

6:20AM PDT on Jul 11, 2011

It's about time something was done, I just wonder how comprehensive the new law will be. Also, will it cover all body products are just cosmetics (meaning make-up)?

I rarely wear make-up (maybe once or twice a year) because as a child and young woman I had skin reactions to many of them. Luckily for me, I have almost always had good, clear skin. However, one of my daughters (now 22) has pretty bad acne on her face and tries to cover it up, though less so than she used to since she learned of all the toxic crap in cosmetics, and her growing self-confidence.

7:39PM PDT on Jul 10, 2011

Better yet let's create a society that makes women feel more comfortable without their makeup on. I for one find it slightly unattractive when women wear too much makeup and by too much I pretty much mean any and I know plenty of my friends feel the same.

5:51PM PDT on Jul 10, 2011

The Safe Cosmetics Act is important for several reasons, including:

1) Girls are beginning to wear makeup at younger ages

2) Many cosmetics are manufactured in other countries and imported

3) Just because cosmetics are labelled "natural" or "organic" doesn't mean there aren't ingrediants that could cause a reaction.

5:36PM PDT on Jul 9, 2011

why isn't it already law?

12:45PM PDT on Jul 9, 2011

It's really past time! Use safe ingredients and don't test on animals.

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