Most of us don't think twice before reaching for our toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, shampoo and other personal care products everyday. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is supposed to protect us by screening these products, right? Well, maybe not so much! The Federal Food, Drugs and Cosmetics Act was passed by Congress back in 1938 to require that new products be proved safe before they were marketed. Unfortunately, that was pretty much never done with cosmetics. In fact, such organizations as The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Council have reported that most of the personal care products that consumers, like you and me, use on a daily basis contain several toxic chemicals that have been linked to illnesses.
The great news is that there is hope on the horizon! A press release from The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics reports that on July 21, 2010, Congress introduced the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010, (HR 5786) which allows the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure that harmful ingredients are no longer permitted in cosmetics and other personal care products. This act, introduced by Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., aims to close the numerous loopholes in the existing and undoubtedly behind-the-times federal law (see above) that currently permits the use of toxic chemicals that have been linked to many health issues, such as, birth defects, learning disabilities and cancer, in the products that many of us unwittingly use on a daily basis.
This bill, if passed (and it is unlikely to receive much opposition), is set to significantly change the regulatory structure of the U.S.'s cosmetics industry and more closely align it with that of other FDA-regulated products, e.g., medical devices, drugs, etc.
The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 would, among other things:
- Require domestic and foreign establishments that manufacture, package, or distribute cosmetics to register annually with the FDA, to include providing the FDA with contact information, a description of the establishment's activities, gross receipts, the number of employees, and the name and address of any company that supplies ingredients for its cosmetic products. FDA would be required to make this registered list available to the public.
- Require the FDA to establish a "schedule of fees....to provide for oversight and enforcement" of the new regulation of cosmetics. The fees would be prorated based on the establishment's sales or gross receipts. The fee schedule would only apply to companies grossing more than $1 million annually.
- Require, within one year after the date that the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 is enacted, that the label on each package of cosmetics, whether distributed for retail sale or professional use, states the name of each ingredient in the cosmetic, in "descending order of predominance."
- Prohibit companies from producing, importing, distributing, or marketing a cosmetic or a cosmetic ingredient for which the company has failed to supply the required information under the bill to the FDA.
To read more about this bill, go to: Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010, (HR 5786).
Here's a list of just some of the personal care products that most Americans use daily (most of us use an average of 10 each day!):
- Toilet paper
- Shaving cream
- Skin cream
- Lip gloss/Lip stick
- Facial tissue
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