Congress Initiates The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010
Due to concerns over possible carcinogens and other toxic ingredients in cosmetics, Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois has introduced a bill to Congress to create tighter regulations of the chemicals used in personal care products. The legislation also calls for cosmetics makers to register with the FDA and for larger cosmetic firms to pay user fees to enforce the regulation.
The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 (HR5786.IH), co-sponsored by Reps Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Ed Markey of Massachusetts, has been referred both to the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on Education and Labor.
Schakowsky said during a teleconference Wednesday that “Americans need to know that their cosmetics and personal care products don’t contain chemicals that could cause harm.” She also describes the current cosmetic laws to be “woefully out of date”.
The bill, if passed, would require all ingredients in a cosmetic product to be listed on the label and would give the Secretary of Health and Human Services two years to develop a list of prohibited or restricted ingredients. Cosmetics manufacturers would also be required to notify the government of consumer reports of adverse health effects from their products and to use alternatives to animal testing.
Currently, cosmetic manufacturers are not required to list all of their ingredients on a package label. The FDA is not empowered to require safety testing or approval of label claims on products before they are sold to the public. A recent Chicago Tribune investigation found dangerous levels of mercury in some skin lightening creams – a substance which is banned.
“Consumers can’t assume even when an ingredient has been banned that it’s not in a product,” Schakowsky said.
The Personal Care Products Council has released its own plan to ensure member organizations establish “good manufacturing” practices. Last week, they proposed a number of new measures including FDA ingredient reviews, enhancement of FDA oversight, and collaboration with information that the FDA needs to ensure consumer safety and safeguard public health.
Better regulation of cosmetics is also the focus of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a collaboration between groups such as the Clean Water Action, the Breast Cancer Fund and the Friends of the Earth, which has released a seven-minute video called “Story of Cosmetics” urging consumers to lobby for safer cosmetic products.
Consumers in support of the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 can use this online form through the Breast Cancer Fund website to contact their own State Representative to urge him or her to vote in favor of passing the bill.