Safe Cosmetics Act Addresses Gaps in Safety Regulations
By Rachel Walden — September 1, 2011
Many U.S. users of cosmetics may not realize that they do not require FDA testing or approval and the federal agency is not authorized to require a manufacturer to recall unsafe products from the market. Because cosmetics are not regulated in the same way drugs are, it’s more difficult for consumers to make informed decisions, and the FDA has less power to regulate the cosmetics industry and respond to problems.
The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011, introduced by Janice Schakowsky (IL-D), is intended to help close some of these gaps in cosmetics regulation.
The Act would give the government the power to recall unsafe cosmetics, require better disclosure of ingredients, establish additional safety standards and require manufacturers to submit data on the safety of their products, mandate reporting of adverse health effects, allow the banning of ingredients found to have reproductive or cancer-causing effects, encourage alternatives to animal testing, address worker safety, along with other measures.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which promotes the legislation and greater consumer awareness of cosmetic safety concerns, has more information at http://www.safecosmetics.org/section.php?id=74.
The potential for chemical reform is quite exciting, but it should be done in a way that doesn’t sacrifice millions of animals (for toxicity testing) in the name of better protection for human health and the environment – and to bring the latest lipstick shade to the market. The revised bill should mandate and create market incentives to use nonanimal methods. We need to ensure that chemical testing is in line with the 21st century and relies on modern, human cell and computer-based methods that provide accurate data on how a chemical acts and what the impact on human health may be.