Speaking at a meeting held by the FDA last week, Houlihan called on the US government to include public health, consumer and environmental organizations in future meetings concerning changes to current regulations governing the personal care industry. Houlihan is targeting a series of meetings scheduled for the end of July in which delegates from all over the world have been invited to debate on regulatory issues. Targeting ICCR meeting Known as the International Cooperation on Cosmetic Regulation (ICCR) forum, the meeting is set to discuss efforts to remove regulatory obstacles, an area which the EWG claims to already be 'lax' in the US. In its battle to tighten regulations in the US, the EWG has repeatedly compared US personal care regulation to that of the European Union, where the regulation of chemicals and cosmetics ingredients is said to be much tighter and less favorable to the industry. The lobby group says that current regulations already allow a significant number of chemicals into products without thorough testing, a situation that could be worsened if plans to remove regulatory obstacles are adopted. 'Unwatched and unregulated' "The cosmetics industry enjoys a largely unwatched and unregulated status in the US that raises serious concerns for public health, and closed-door meetings between regulators and the industry may well widen these significant gaps," said Houlihan. "This process is inherently biased, conflicted and unacceptable," she added. Houlihan suggests that the ICCR forum be used as a platform for a broader range of groups to express their concerns in this area and represent the public's interests in regulating personal care products. US personal care and industry standards In her statement at the meeting Houlihan went on to underline the fact that in the US personal care goods often violate industry safety standards, frequently containing ingredients or chemicals that are banned in other countries. According to the group some 90 percent of personal care ingredients currently available in the US have not been assessed for safety, which means they may contain potential toxins. "This complete absence of accountability to a responsible government agency has not served the American public well," Houlihan said.