New Drug Proposed for FDA Regulation of Cosmetics

Recently there have been a number of new laws proposed or enacted aimed at giving the FDA more authority over both food and drugs.  However, another area (often overlooked) of regulatory authority is cosmetics. 

This week, however, cosmetics takes on a higher profile with the introduction of newly proposed legislation by Congresspeople Jan Schakowsky, Ed Markey and Tammy Baldwin.  The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 (H.R.5786) would give the FDA new authorities to regulate what is, in fact, a very large market.

Would you ingest something into your body that did not have a label telling you what is in it?  No? Would you put something onto your body if you didn't know what was in it?  Apparently, you do it all the time.  

According to the accompanying press release issued about the introduction of the legislation, the average American utilizes 10 different personal care products per day, which means that there is a high level of regular exposure to a large number chemicals.  

What may be surprising to most people is that this legislation proposes things that one would have thought were already in place, but are not.  The release recounts the key provisions of the proposed Act:

  • Cosmetic and Ingredient Testing and Safety:  FDA would establish a list of ingredients prohibited from being used in cosmetics and would require manufacturers to conduct safety assessments and submit information to the FDA.
  • Ingredient Labels on Cosmetics:  The label on each package of cosmetics would be required to list the name of each ingredient, including the components of fragrance.  
  • Post Market Testing:  Requires the Secretary of HHS to conduct annual random sample tests for pathogens or contaminants in cosmetic products.
  • Market Restrictions:  For products that fail to meet the safety standard, would provide FDA with recall authority, the ability to request a voluntary recall or to order a halt to distribution;
  • Cosmetics and Ingredients Statements:  Companies would have to submit ingredient statements for every product they manufacture to the FDA.
  • Mandatory Reporting of Adverse Health Effects:  Cosmetic Manufacturers, packagers, and distributors would have to submit a report tot he FDA on any serious adverse events associated with the use of a cosmetic.
  • Worker Issues:  Requires companies that distribute cosmetics for salon use to provide information on health hazards listed by authoritative bodies or found in scientific studies.  
  • States Rights:  States may set more stringent standards.
  • Registration of Cosmetic Companies and Registration Fees:  Cosmetics companies would have to required to register with the FDA and pay registration fees.  

Congress hasn't even been able to pass increased food safety legislation, in spite of a number of high profile food safety issues, so one necessarily questions whether or not there is going to be momentum for attention to increased cosmetic regulation.  And does the FDA need to increase its mandate even further?  Is it best to have one agency overseeing so many diverse products or does it invite a budgetary and disciplinary mess?  

But the most interesting thing to me of all about the legislation is that my guess is most of us thought this was mostly already being done.  And to know that it is not, makes one look at one's relationship with one's deodorant perhaps in quite a different way.   

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1 Response to New Drug Proposed for FDA Regulation of Cosmetics

  1. JC D. says:

    Prevent the government and FDA from continuing to get bigger and bigger! A large amount of the compounds the FDA proposes to ban will include common compounds such as Peroxide, PABA (organic compound naturally in our body), Lactic Acid (found in yogurt and in our body), etc. The government aims to scare the public because the more formal, chemical names are currently listed on packaging instead of the common names we understand. The government seeks to further scare the public on all accounts so that it can take over completely (Socialism is 1st)and make the general public feel like it has been taken care of. It is time for us to take back responsibility and educate ourselves before we just give in to the scare tactics.

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