A new bill seeks to make your makeup safer. The Personal Care Products Safety Act gives the Food and Drug Administration new (though very limited) powers to regulate the cosmetics industry—and highlights some scary gaps in cosmetics safety.
As it stands, the FDA does not have to approve any cosmetic before it hits the market and cannot force a recall of personal care products even if they harm consumers; the best the FDA can do is encourage manufacturers to recall their products, which most do. This bill still wouldn't give the FDA pre-approval rights of cosmetics before they hit the market, but it does let them recall harmful products outright. And it's supported by some of the largest cosmetics manufacturers, who under the bill would be required to quickly report "serious" adverse complications, like death or hospitalization, from their products. Less serious issues, like irritation or rashes, would be disclosed in a yearly report.
Cosmetics companies will also have to submit a cosmetics ingredient statement to the FDA, disclosing everything in their product. And the FDA will conduct safety evaluations of five different ingredients every year. If the bill passes, the first five to be tested will include methylene glycol, used in some hair-straightening treatments; propyl paraben, used as a cosmetic preservative that some studies have linked to hormonal disorders; lead acetate; and diazolidinyl urea and quaternium-15, preservatives that release formaldehyde.
Several consumer safety groups as well as personal care industry giants such as Johnson & Johnson, Estee Lauder, and L'Oreal support the bipartisan bill.
"From shampoo to lotion, the use of personal care products is widespread, however, there are very few protections in place to ensure their safety," Feinstein said in a statement. "Europe has a robust system, which includes consumer protections like product registration and ingredient reviews. I am pleased to be introducing this bipartisan legislation with Senator Collins that will require FDA to review chemicals used in these products and provide clear guidance on their safety."
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