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The Safe Cosmetics Act

July 22, 2010 Reviewed by Marta 6 Comments
Everyone connected with the Truth In Aging community cares passionately about what goes into our potions and lotions. We want our cosmetics to work and do no evil to us or the planet.  In this notoriously unregulated industry, we consumers have little choice but to become as knowledgeable as we can and take the rest on faith from brands we trust.  This week two senators  - Reps. Jan Schakowsky from Illinois and Edward Markey from Massachusetts -- introduced the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010. If passed, it will give the FDA the powers to protect us from harmful ingredients in personal care products.

To date, it has been legal for cosmetics companies to use just about any ingredient that they want.  And they can hide behind the “confidential business information” exclusion to keep information back. The new law would include following:

Ingredients linked to cancer and birth defects being phased out of personal care products.

Health-based safety standards for all ingredients in cosmetics that includes protections for children and other vulnerable populations.

Required listing on product labels of all chemical ingredients in personal care products, including fragrances and contaminants.

Worker access to information about hazardous chemicals they may encounter in the manufacturing of personal care products.

Adequate funding and support of the FDA Office of Cosmetics and Colors to pay for this oversight of the cosmetics industry.

What do you think? Weigh in with your opinion - for or against - and we'll pass it on to the Senators.

In the meantime, for background on some of the toxic ingredients to look out for see Shyema’s review of Toxic Beauty by Dr Samuel S Epstein.
  • April 25, 2011

    by Gisele

    I create handblended bath items and always list the ingredients, never fudging anything. Many of us are honest and legitimate, however, there are a vast number that are not. These ones have no idea of what they're doing and sell off recipe copies made in the bathtub of other illegitimates, causing potential harm to the buyer. Because of them, the rest of us--the experienced--have also received a bad name. Some regulation is necessary, but the rigidity and paranoia is not since many of us rely on our businesses as a livlihood.

  • December 3, 2010

    by Alice Greenwood

    Can you imagine how long and convoluted ingredient labels will become. An innocent and beneficial ingredient like Lavender Essential Oil becomes Linalol, linalyl acetate, lavandulol, lavandulyl acetate, terpineol, limonene, caryophyllene.... The ingredient "water" will have in excess of 30 trace ingredients that must be present on the label. The FDA currently is unable to verify where most prescription drugs sold in the US are manufactured. What gives us confidence in this type of regulation?

  • August 4, 2010

    by Cindy Jones

    Its not true that the cosmetics industry is not regulated. The Campaign For Safe Cosmetics is spreading lies and using scare tactics. The Cosmetics industry is among the safest industries there is and there is no evidence that anyone has been harmed by cosmetics other than a few allergic reactions and harm done by NOT using preservatives (like parabens).
    This bill would do to small cosmetics companies what the CPSC did to the small toy industry; no one can stay afloat if everything needs lead testing. Practically all oils/butters will have a low level of lead in them and this bill proposes no level no matter how small of any toxin. Lead is allowed in our food and water at trace amounts; why should cosmetics regulation be more strict than that?
    Natural ingredients would be severely restricted if allowed at all, only the highly synthetic, purified chemicals could pass testing.

  • July 22, 2010

    by Junko

    What a hot topic Marta :) I believe as Jana that it's a long past due step in the right direction. Like everything else the government oversee's, we'll still have plenty to worry about here even with the passing of this Act. I understand too Sarah's concerns of how this might impact small manufacturer's, but on a broad scale, it only makes sense that the cosmetic industry is regulated and held accountable to some extent.

  • July 22, 2010

    by Sarah Waller

    This act will shut down thousands of small businesses - including myself. It encompasses every single cosmetic product out there - if you buy handmade soap, lip balm, lotion, makeup, bath salts - you won't be able to if this Act passes. As an independent cosmetic maker I do believe in accountability and transparency so people can know what is in their products - but the testing of finished products costs around $25k - each. I have over 100 eyeshadow colors, and I can't even imagine to think of the costs. So while I agree with a lot of the Act, the testing part scares me to death, because my business supports both my husband and I. If they require testing, we will no longer have a livelihood that we absolutely love.

  • July 22, 2010

    by Jana

    I'm absolutely in favor of this Act and hope it will pass Congress. I also would like to see it go further by requiring cosmetic manufacturers to list the percentages of each ingredient used in their formulations. Nevertheless, this Act as written appears to be a step in the right direction.

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