The Safe Cosmetics Act (H.R. 2359) will give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority it needs to ensure that personal care products are free of harmful substances like lead, reproductive toxins, and cancer-causing chemicals like formaldehyde. The existing law, which has not been updated in 70 years, allows cosmetics companies to use these and other toxic chemicals in products that we use on our bodies every day, including hand soap, lotion, baby shampoo, lipstick and cologne.
The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 (H.R.2359), introduced on June 24, 2011 by Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., is designed to give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authority to ensure that personal care products are free of harmful ingredients and that ingredients are fully disclosed.
Existing law – the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act of 1938 – cedes decisions about ingredient safety to the cosmetics industry. Under the current law, the FDA can't require cosmetics companies to conduct safety assessments, and can’t even require product recalls. In a recent example, the FDA could not issue a mandatory recall of Brazilian Blowout hair straightening products even after they were found to contain formaldehyde.
Provisions of the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 include:
- Phase-out of ingredients linked to cancer, birth defects and developmental harm;
- Creation of a health-based safety standard that includes protections for children, the elderly, workers and other vulnerable populations;
- Elimination of labeling loopholes by requiring full ingredient disclosure on product labels and company websites, including salon products and the constituent ingredients of fragrance;
- Worker access to information about unsafe chemicals in personal care products;
- Required data-sharing to avoid duplicative testing and encourage the development of alternatives to animal testing; and
- Adequate funding to the FDA Office of Cosmetics and Colors so it has the resources it needs to provide effective oversight of the cosmetics industry.