Safer Cosmetics on the Regulatory Horizon


Image: Zooboing, via Flickr

Industry associations state their desire to "ensure that existing FDA regulatory oversight is enhanced." Advocate groups for safer cosmetics have started a full push to get the public support for cosmetic safety reform. So this should be easy, right?The Story of Cosmetics, the most recent addition to Annie Leonard's collection, marks open season for the lobbyists and legislators trying to hit a challenging target. Almost in tandem, the Personal Care Products Council is pushing Congress to reform the role of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and legislation worked on by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics was introduced by Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc. Officially called the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 (H.R.5786), the bill would enhance FDA authority to ensure that personal care products are free of harmful ingredients.

Now the allegations will fly. The bill promises more safety and a level playing field. The industry fears full disclosure provisions for ingredient lists, and argues the legislation will be too costly. But the industry knows that consumer confidence in the products they supply is essential to continued profits (that is why they are pushing congress just ahead of the cosmetic safety advocates' punch, after all).

But all legislation is a compromise between technical and economic feasibility and a vision of how systems could work better. Now is the time to step up and help pound out in writing legislation that helps consumers feel safe using everyday personal care products while keeping the industry in business. Industry could even benefit if they can place the burden of defining "safe levels" of chemicals on government. Ironically, then people might have the security they imagine their government provides already. Industry may win some and lose some, but one thing is certain: it is time for this debate. Consumer safety can only win.

If you want to make sure the importance of this issue does not get lost in the politickin', then make you voice heard: support the campaign for safe cosmetics. (We would give you a link to the industry's web page for support of cosmetic safety reform, but unfortunately, we could not find it.)

More on Toxins:
5 Ugly Truths You May Not Know About the Beauty Industry
7 Frightening Signs Harmful Chemicals are Sneaking into Your Beauty Regime
No Safe Amount: The Handshake Theory of Chemical Toxicity
Why Is There Still an Endocrine Disruptor In My Toothpaste?
Lead Levels in Lipstick Much Higher Than Previously Reported, Says FDA
More on Better Products:
How to Go Green: Natural Skin Care
No More Dirty Looks: The Truth About Beauty Products
Natural Beauty Book Authors Reveal Shocking Truths About Cosmetics
5 Greenwashed Myths of the Beauty Industry (And How Not to Fall For Them)
More on Better Regulations:
Seventh Generation CIP Jeffrey Hollender Speaks Out on Chemical Reform
Should Manufacturers Disclose Secret Chemical Ingredients?
No Data, No Market: the EU Gets Serious About Chemicals
European Parliament adopts REACH - Chemicals Management By The Precautionary Principle
REACH for Greener Chemistry

Tags: Cancer | Chemicals | Corporate Responsibility | Cosmetics | Toxins

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