Lawmakers Introduce Safe Cosmetics Act

Congress will finally be taking a look at fractures in an old law that has enabled <"">toxic chemicals known to be associated with cancer, birth defects, and learning disabilities—among other adverse health events—in common consumer products, wrote Safe Cosmetics. The move is the first of its kind in seven decades.

Three Democratic—Representatives, Jan Schakowsky (Illinois), Ed Markey (Massachusetts), and Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin), introduced the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010, (HR 5786), said Safe Cosmetics. The Act provides the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight over personal care products to ensure they are free of dangerous ingredients, explained Safe Cosmetics.

Under the law in place, which was passed in 1938, it allowed ingredient safety decision making to be made by the cosmetics industry. “Harmful chemicals have no place in the products we put on our bodies or on our children’s bodies,” said Representative Schakowsky, quoted Safe Cosmetics. “Our cosmetics laws are woefully out of date—manufacturers aren’t even required to disclose all their ingredients on labels, leaving Americans unknowingly exposed to harmful mystery ingredients. This bill will finally protect those consumers,” Schakowsky added.

Of note, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics points out that Americans use about 10 personal care products daily, which means that they are exposed to over 126 unique chemicals, a figure that does not take into consideration the wide array of unnamed chemicals present in “fragrance,” explained Safe Cosmetics. The dangerous exposures received from these items simply add to current environmental and consumer product exposures, noted Safe Cosmetics.

“The cosmetics industry says the amounts of potentially toxic chemicals in their products are so small that they carry no risk, but we know that for some chemicals small doses can have big effects,” said Maryann Donovan, Ph.D., an expert on environmental exposures and biological effects from the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, quoted Safe Cosmetics. “We need to better understand the short- and long-term health effects resulting from small doses of toxic chemicals, repeated daily exposures, exposures during fetal or infant development, and exposures to mixtures of chemicals in personal care products,” she added.

The legislation hopes to begin removing cancer-causing ingredients linked to birth defects and other environmental problems; create health-based standards that seek to protect vulnerable populations, including children and the elderly; correct labeling issues and require full disclosure of product ingredients; provide information about unsafe chemicals to workers; mandate data sharing, which would eliminate redundant testing and encourage animal testing alternatives; ensure sufficient funding at the FDA; and encourage fair competition for smaller businesses.

We recently wrote about how some face paints were found to contain lead and other heavy metals such as nickel, cobalt, and chromium as well as allergens, despite being advertised as being non-toxic and hypoallergenic. We have also written about the issues surrounding lead in lipstick. A prior study revealed that lead levels in an array of lipsticks were greater than what has long been believed.

This entry was posted in Health Concerns, Toxic Substances. Bookmark the permalink.

© 2005-2016 Parker Waichman LLP ®. All Rights Reserved.