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Laws and regulations

USA: What’s in the Personal Care Products Safety Act ?

Senators Dianne Feinstein (Democrats, California) and Susan Collins (Republicans, Maine) recently introduced the Personal Care Products Safety Act, which aims to strengthen FDA oversight of cosmetic and personal care products and their ingredients. Having the support of giant cosmetics makers such as Estée Lauder, Procter & Gamble and L’Oréal and of consumer groups such as the Environmental Working Group or the Society for Women’s Health Ressearch, this bipartisan bill has better chance to be passed than previous bill initiatives.

For several years, the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC), the trade organization which represents the leading producers of cosmetic and personal care products in the United States, has expressed its support to strengthening FDA oversight of these products. However, the organization’s position proved difficult to conciliate with those of consumer advocacy organizations. Having support from all stakeholders is certainly the main asset of the text proposed by Senators Feinstein and Collins, which is the result of numerous discussions and extensive consultations. [1]

Review of chemicals used in personal care products

The bill requires FDA to review chemicals used in cosmetic products and provide clear guidance on their safety. A minimum of five ingredients per year would be evaluate to determine their safety and appropriate use.

The first set of chemicals for review includes:

  • Diazolidinyl urea, which is used as a preservative in a wide range of products including deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, bubble bath and lotion.
  • Lead acetate, which is used as a colour additive in hair dyes.
  • Methylene glycol/formaldehyde, which is used in hair treatments.
  • Propyl paraben, which is used as a preservative in a wide range of products including shampoo, conditioner and lotion.
  • Quaternium-15, which is used as a preservative in a wide range of products including shampoo, shaving cream, skin creams and cleansers

Strengthening of FDA authority

The Personal Care Products Safety Act would also:

  • Provide the FDA the authority to order recalls of certain personal care products that threaten consumer safety.
  • Provide the FDA the authority to require labelling of products that include ingredients not appropriate for children and those that should be professionally administered.
  • Require complete label information, including ingredients and product warnings, to be posted online since many personal care products are purchased over the Internet.
  • Require companies to provide contact information on their products for consumers and report serious adverse events to the FDA within 15 days, including death, hospitalization and disfigurement. Health effects that could have resulted in hospitalization without early intervention would also be required to be reported.
  • Require manufacturers to register annually with the FDA and provide the agency with information on the ingredients used in their personal care products.
  • Direct the FDA to issue regulations on Good Manufacturing Practices for personal care products.
  • Encourage the use of alternative testing methods that provide information that is equivalent or superior in scientific quality to the animal testing method.

The bill is available here below or on Senator Feinstein’s website.

Personal Care Products Safety Act

Personal Care Products Safety Act

Vincent Gallon

Footnotes

[1] The bill is supported by the following companies: Personal Care Products Council, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Revlon, Estee Lauder, Unilever, L’Oreal. The bill is also supported by the following consumer groups: Environmental Working Group, Society for Women’s Health Research, National Alliance for Hispanic Health, HealthyWomen.

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