Cosmetics regulation needs a makeover, industry urges Congress

By Andrew McDougall

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cosmetics

Cosmetics industry representatives have urged Congress to reconsider the regulation of cosmetic and personal care products so that there is one universal standard, eliminating confusion.

Having one definitive regulation of cosmetics would be better than having different standards in each of the 50 States, and that is one of the hopes following the Congress meeting yesterday.

In the coming weeks, Congress will also consider provisions related to the regulation of cosmetics and personal care products in the reauthorization of the FDA User Fee programs.

(Full video of Health Subcommittee Hearing on Examining the Current State of Cosmetics, March 27, 2012)

An old system

The cosmetics industry has been regulated by FDA since the enactment of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 (FFDCA).

FFDCA prohibits the introduction of adulterated or misbranded cosmetics into interstate commerce and provides for seizure, criminal penalties and other enforcement authorities for violations of the FFDCA.

In recent years, some States have considered legislation that would affect the ingredients that can be used in cosmetic products, and now groups are calling for national standards for ingredients of cosmetic products that are reviewed by the FDA.

Provisions needed

“Men, women, and children are exposed every day to dozens or hundreds of harmful ingredients in their shampoos, cologne, makeup, lotions, and other products,”​ said Safe Cosmetics Act Representative Jan Schakowsky, who spoke at the hearing.

“Today’s testimony will underscore the need for these provisions as well as the complexity of this industry and the need for thorough consideration of any legislation making changes to cosmetics regulation.”

In some cases the levels of these dangerous chemicals in products are low and well within recommended safety limits; however many feel new legislation should be put in place to modernize existing regulations, provide greater transparency, and equip the FDA with an oversight framework for the 21st century.

Time to update

"While cosmetic products remain among the safest in commerce, the existing system for regulating our industry is overdue for a makeover,"​ said Lezlee Westine, president and CEO of the Personal Care Products Council , which for several years has been advocating for reform.

"The current process has served the public well for decades, but the time has come for us to advocate for additional safeguards as science and technology evolve."

PCPC is seeking to create formal processes for FDA to review ingredients for safety at the request of all public and stakeholder groups and to review all safety determinations made by the independent Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel.

Covington & Burling senior counsel Peter Barton Hutt, testifying before the House subcommittee on behalf of the major cosmetics industry trade association reiterated this view stating "even though FDA has repeatedly stated that cosmetics are the safest products they regulate, it is time to bring FDA’s statutory authority up to date.”

Related topics Regulation & Safety

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