The Personal Care Products Safety Act

You know how cosmetic and personal care regulation in the US is, well, practically nonexistent? That may be changing soon.

Legislation is in the works to up FDA control over cosmetic ingredients. To a small extent, anyway. But hey, this could be a step in the right direction.

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have co-sponsored a bill –The Personal Care Products Safety Act— that would require the FDA to research the safety of five ingredients each year and place disclosure regulations on product manufacturers.

To get up to speed here, the FDA does not approve cosmetics for safety before they are put up for sale. This is left up to the manufacturer. The FDA “encourages cosmetic firms to report product formulations” but “companies are not legally required to tell FDA about their products and safety data”. Uh huh.

So what would this new legislation look like in action? As for the five ingredients that would come under closer scrutiny:

propylparaben – a commonly used synthetic preservative that has been found in breast tissue, acts like estrogen in the body, and could lead to impaired fertility or fetal development

lead acetate – a heavy metal (metalloestrogen) used in hair dyes, a possible carcinogen, developmental and reproductive toxicant, organ system toxicant, allergen and immunotoxicant

and three formaldehyde-releasing ingredients (formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen):

methylene glycol – commonly found in hair straightening products, like The Brazilian Blowout

diazolidinyl urea and quaternium-15 – both used as preservatives

About time these guys went under the government’s microscope, right? You can read more about these, and other, ingredients to avoid on my list.

Now for that whole disclosure thing. Personal care manufacturers would be required to report serious health issues resulting from the use of any of its products within 15 days. Nonserious reports would have to be reported each year. Serious, if you are wondering, covers death, disfigurement or a hospital stay. Yeah. Rashes are considered nonserious.

EWG is backing the bill, as are many cosmetic manufacturers. Let’s hope this thing sees the light of day. And yay to these awesome women taking a stand against toxins in personal care!

Image :: Chris Sardegna at Unsplash

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