Rep. Jan Schakowsky

Rep. Jan Schakowsky

According to its sponsors, Reps. Jan Schakowsky, Ed Markey, and Tammy Baldwin, the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 (H.R. 2359), which was introduced at the end of June in the House of Representatives, aims to “close major loopholes in federal law that allow companies to use ingredient in cosmetics and personal care products known to damage human health and the environment.

Increased FDA power

Key provisions in the bill include: random post marketing tests, registration of cosmetic companies with FDA and payment of corresponding fees, a list of prohibited ingredients, mandatory reporting of adverse health effects, increased power for the FDA, including the possibility to recall products.

The bill is a partially rewritten version of the previous attempt that was introduced last year.

Industry self-regulation just isn’t working. This bill recognizes that consumers have a right to safe personal care products and that companies have a responsibility to ensure their products are safe,” said Lisa Archer, director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, an advocacy group campaigning against hazardous chemicals in cosmetics.

Critics from the industry

We agree with Reps. Schakowsky, Markey and Baldwin about the need for certain provisions of the U.S. Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to be modernized in order to keep pace with evolving science and the growth of our industry,” commented Lezlee Westine, President and CEO of thePersonal Care Products Council (PCPC), the leading trade association representing US manufacturers and marketers of cosmetic and personal care products. However, “we are very concerned that, as written, it contains provisions that will place unnecessary burdens on FDA and businesses of all sizes and may compromise jobs without providing meaningful benefits to consumers,” she added.

Personal Care Truth, a group of independent cosmetic business owners, also responded to the proposed act to address what it believes to be misinformation included in the bill. The group said the bill holds universal flaws that could impact the entire cosmetics industry, including large and small businesses. “It is unworkable, far reaching, and will do absolutely nothing to make cosmetics safer than they already are,” said Lisa Rodgers, co-founder of Personal Care Truth.

More particularly,Personal Care Truth criticizes the risk of label confusion as the process of labelling all components and contaminants of each ingredient would be nearly impossible, registration duplication for the manufacturer and distributor, and the inappropriate definition of adverse health effects.