2. Congress Wants to Give FDA More Power to Make Personal Care Products Safe
Congress has proposed a law that would give the FDA authority to test whether chemicals added to personal care products are being used at safe levels. If the chemicals are found to exceed “safe” levels, the FDA could force a recall.
As it stands, the FDA simply does not have the resources to routinely test such products or even to take regulatory action except under extreme circumstances. According to the FDA:3
“FDA takes regulatory action based upon agency priorities, consistent with public health concerns and available resources.”
The bill, dubbed the Personal Care Products Safety Act, could change that. As reported by ABC News:4
“Senators Dianne Feinstein, D-California, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced an amendment to the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that would give the Food and Drug Administration more power and oversight to regulate the chemicals men and women slather on their bodies every day.”
The bill includes a system requiring product manufacturers to register their products and ingredients, and would require the FDA to review five chemicals in personal care products each year in order to evaluate their safety. The first set of chemicals recommended for testing include:
- Diazolidinyl urea
- Lead acetate
- Methylene glycol/formaldehyde
- Propyl paraben
In Europe, more than 1,300 chemicals are banned from use in lotions, soaps, toothpaste, cosmetics, and other personal care products. Contrast that to in the US, where just 11 are banned.5
Adding insult to injury, the FDA tasks the companies that manufacture and market cosmetics and other personal care products with ensuring their safety.
Not only does this pose an obvious conflict of interest, but according to the FDA, “neither the law nor FDA regulations currently require specific tests to demonstrate the safety of individual products or ingredients.”6
The new bill, which is expected to pass, would change that and, little by little, some of the worst offenders could begin to be taken out of your personal care products. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein told CBS News:7
“It’s because of the addition of some chemicals – chemicals for staying power, chemicals for shine … Our laws should provide for adequate testing of chemicals before they go into widely used products.”