Safe Cosmetics Act introduced in House of Representatives

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Safe Cosmetics Act introduced in House of Representatives
A bill that proposes to significantly tighten up the FDA regulation of cosmetics and personal care products was introduced into the House of Representatives this week.

Backed by Representatives Jan Schakowsky, Ed Markey, and Tammy Baldwin, the bill has the support of the consumer group the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

According to the Campaign, the bill will ‘overhaul the law that allows chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, or other illnesses in the products we use on our bodies every day’.

“Harmful chemicals have no place in the products we put on our bodies or on our children's bodies,”​ said Representative Schakowsky.

“Our cosmetics laws are woefully out of date—manufacturers aren't even required to disclose all their ingredients on labels, leaving Americans unknowingly exposed to harmful mystery ingredients. This bill will finally protect those consumers,” ​she added.

Ingredients database from FDA

The proposed bill would see cosmetics companies providing significantly more information to the FDA than is currently required, including details of the ingredients, safety data assessments and full company and product details.

In addition, the bill calls on the FDA to set up a database for cosmetics ingredients classing them into three categories – prohibited ingredients, restricted ingredients and ingredients that are safe without limits.

Not based on credible science

However, the Act has been criticized by the industry trade association the Personal Care Products Council.

While the Council supports the drive to increase FDA involvement in cosmetics regulation, it says the Safe Cosmetics Act 2010 is ‘not based on credible and established scientific principles’.

In addition, it raises concerns about the burden enforcing the act would place on FDA.

“…​[it] would put an enormous if not impossible burden on FDA, and would create a mammoth new regulatory structure for cosmetics, parts of which would far exceed that of any other FDA-regulated product category including food or drugs. The measures the bill would mandate are likely unachievable even with the addition of hundreds of additional FDA scientists and millions more in funding and would not make a meaningful contribution to product safety,”​ CEO of the Council, Lezlee Westine said.

Council urges more FDA involvement

Just last week the Council proposed its own ideas of how cosmetics regulation could be improved with greater involvement from FDA, and urges Congress to consider these proposals as well as speed up the passage of the FDA Globalization Act of 2009, which also stands to enhance FDA regulation of cosmetics manufacturers.

The Council suggests that manufacturers systematically submit product ingredient reports to FDA, with lists of all ingredients used in each product, as well as registering all manufacturing facilities.

In addition, the trade association is proposing that manufacturers report any serious, unexpected adverse effects experienced by consumers to the regulatory body.

It also proposes to change how the safety profiles of ingredients are investigated and who is involved in this process.

At present it is the Cosmetics Ingredients Review (CIR) Expert Panel (an independent panel of experts) that reviews cosmetics ingredients for safety; however, PCPC is proposing that FDA reviews all the CIR safety assessments, including those already completed. If the findings of the CIR Expert Panel are deemed to be lacking, FDA will have to determine under what conditions the ingredient can be used.

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