On June 24, 2001, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., presented the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 (HR 2359) before congress, which would update the 1938 federal cosmetics laws that allow chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, learning disabilities and other illnesses into the personal care products we use daily on our bodies.
“The growing number of reports of serious health problems arising from the use of dangerous chemicals in personal care products shows a need to update our laws and protect men, women, and children from harmful exposure,” said Rep. Schakowsky. “Currently, manufacturers are not required to disclose all their ingredients on labels and the FDA has no power to supervise the use of toxic chemicals in cosmetics.”
The existing law cedes decisions about ingredient safety to the cosmetics industry. Furthermore, the FDA cannot require companies to conduct safety tests or require product recalls, which was made evident in April when a hair straightening product, Brazilian Blowout, was found to contain formaldehyde, a proven carcinogen.
The Safe Cosmetics Act is designed to give the FDA authority to ensure that personal care products are free of harmful ingredients and that ingredients are fully disclosed.
Provisions of the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 include:
Currently, 12,500 chemicals that have never been assessed for safety are being used by cosmetic manufacturers to formulate various products. Moreover, some manufacturers knowingly formulate products with ingredients that have been proven to be hazardous to health, like lead, mercury, coal tar, formaldehyde, 1,4-dioxane, and phthalates, to name a few.
The industry-funded Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR)has evaluated less than 20 percent of ingredients used in cosmetics in 35 years since its creation. The $50 billion dollar-a-year industry clearly is not capable of regulating itself.
“When there are cancer-causing chemicals in popular hair-straighteners and baby shampoos and neurotoxins like lead in makeup, you know the regulatory system is broken,” said Lisa Archer, director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. “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.”
Rep. Markey commented, “The personal care products that make us clean should not make us sick. The Safe Cosmetics Act will close a gaping hole in the federal law that allows potentially toxic chemicals to remain in the cosmetic products we use every day.”
Rep. Baldwin added, “The health risks caused by harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde in cosmetics products demonstrate the pressing need to see that the products we use are safe. The Safe Cosmetics Act is critical to ensuring that personal care products do not compromise the health of workers and consumers.”
For more info: www.safecosmetics.org/safecosmeticsact