Safe Cosmetics Act Introduced
September 2, 2011 § Leave a comment
Did you know that your cosmetics do not require testing or approval by the FDA, and that the agency isn’t authorized to require that cosmetics companies recall or remove unsafe products from shelves? That means if a product is dangerous, for example if it contains high amounts of chemicals that are carcinogenic or that may cause reproductive or developmental toxicity, the company producing the product doesn’t have to warn consumers or take the product off the shelf. For the consumer it means that they could go on for years using the same potentially toxic nail polish, pore cleanser, lipstick, hair dye, or any other cosmetic and be none the wiser about the health risk they are taking each morning as part of their beauty routine. Um, yikes.
Another group of folks to consider are those who are considered highly exposed populations, so for example, people employed at hair salons, nail salons, and spas who interact with large amounts of chemicals every day as part of their job. For example, think about the number of chemicals hair stylists who give perms and relaxer or straightening treatments are exposed to over the course of a year or throughout their entire careers. In fact, recently even though the FDA knew that Brazilian Blowout hair straightening products contain formaldehyde they could not issue a recall on the products because of a 1938 law that currently cedes all decisions about the safety of product ingredients to the cosmetic industry.
In June, Representative Janice Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the Safe Cosmetics Act to Congress. The act attempts to address the current gaps in legislation that let things like lead in lipstick and carcinogens in baby shampoo go unregulated. According to the Our Bodies, Ourselves blog, “The Act would give the government the power to recall unsafe cosmetics, require better disclosure of ingredients, establish additional safety standards and require manufacturers to submit data on the safety of their products, mandate reporting of adverse health effects, allow the banning of ingredients found to have reproductive or cancer-causing effects, encourage alternatives to animal testing, address worker safety, along with other measures.” Awesome, right?
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