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.