The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics—a national coalition that works to make personal-care products safe for consumers, workers and the planet, and is a project of the Breast Cancer Fund—announced June 12 that it applauds the work of Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), urges the United States Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to take up the Personal Care Products Safety Act and wants it to incorporate "key strengthening amendments to make it a truly robust reform of a law that needs to be updated for the 21st century."
“Industry self-regulation just isn’t working," said Janet Nudelman of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Breast Cancer Fund. "The Personal Care Products Safety Act recognizes that the FDA needs more statutory authority and resources to effectively regulate the giant $71-billion cosmetics industry and finally lays the groundwork to accomplish that. Amendments are needed to strengthen the legislation’s safety standard and force full fragrance disclosure so manufacturers and the FDA get the information they need to ensure cosmetics are free of chemicals linked to adverse health effects and people can make more informed purchases. We urge the Senate HELP Committee to give this bill the full consideration it deserves because consumers have been waiting a long time for this legislation, and they deserve nothing less than a bill that is truly meaningful and health-protective.”
Strong provisions in the bill would advance the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s ability to protect Americans’ health, according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, by improving current law to:
- Direct the FDA to assess the safety of a minimum of five cosmetic chemicals a year
- Require companies to register their facilities, products and ingredients with the FDA
- Require companies to comply with good manufacturing practices
- Close labeling loopholes by requiring full-ingredient disclosure for professional-salon products and Web-based sales of cosmetic products
As the bill moves forward in the legislative process, according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, strengthening amendments are needed:
The breadth and depth of the bill’s safety standard—used by the FDA to assess the safety of five or more cosmetic chemicals a year—need to be stronger.
- In the bill's current proposed form, it applies only to the FDA and not to manufacturers that will be responsible for the lion's share of safety substantiation.
- It also lacks clarity regarding the protection of vulnerable populations, including workers.
- The bill does not provide clear direction on the long-term, chronic health end points that should be considered in safety assessments such as cancer, reproductive and developmental harm.
The bill falls short of what is needed to elevate the rigor of ingredient-safety reviews conducted by cosmetic companies. In key areas it preserves the status quo—industry-led safety assessments benchmarked by industry-funded science. Industry safety substantiation of cosmetic chemicals should be based on the same safety standard used by the FDA. The bill’s provisions miss key opportunities to shore up the safety of cosmetic and personal-care products.
The bill exempts fragrance and flavors from FDA-ingredient disclosure, which means the FDA will not receive the information it needs to effectively regulate cosmetic-ingredient safety. Fragrance chemicals and other ingredients should not remain unknown to the FDA, cosmetic manufacturers or consumers. The bill also keeps fragrance and other chemicals secret from manufacturers, making it impossible for them to fully substantiate the safety of all of the ingredients in their products. Because an estimated 40% of personal-care products includes fragrance, this means a large number of products on the market today will not be fully assessed for safety. Consumers also have an urgent right to full disclosure of all—and not just some—of the chemicals in their cosmetic and personal-care products so they can make safer, more-informed purchases.
Cosmetic manufacturers and suppliers of ingredients, raw materials and fragrance should be required to submit their safety studies to the FDA, which should then make them publicly available. Industry data sharing of safety studies will result in less animal testing, will help small businesses and will increase the number of cosmetic chemicals the FDA is able to substantiate for safety.
Even though information about adverse reactions to drugs, medical devices and even toys are publicly available, the bill does not require the same for cosmetics. The public has a right to know if a personal-care product causes hair loss, burns, disfigurement, hospitalization or other adverse reactions.
States—which have stepped up to protect their citizens from unsafe chemical exposure—are prohibited from enacting legislation to address good manufacturing processes, recalls and adverse-event reporting of cosmetic products or establishing regulations to address the safety of chemicals under review by the FDA.
“The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics supports the Personal Care Products Safety Act with these important amendments," stated Nudelman. “We look forward to working with Senators Feinstein and Collins and the HELP Committee to enact strong, health-protective safe cosmetics legislation.”
[Image courtesy of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics]