New Bill Urges Tighter Cosmetics Oversight

September 1, 2010

A bill to levy tougher regulations on the U.S. cosmetics industry was introduced to Congress in late July. The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 (H.R. 5786) calls for a list of ingredients prohibited from use in cosmetics, new recall authority for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), randomized postmarket cosmetics testing, and new registration fees for companies, among other measures, according to Representative Jan Schakowski (D-IL), who introduced the bill together with Ed Markey (D-MA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).

A bill to levy tougher regulations on the U.S. cosmetics industry was introduced to Congress in late July. The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 (H.R. 5786) calls for a list of ingredients prohibited from use in cosmetics, new recall authority for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), randomized postmarket cosmetics testing, and new registration fees for companies, among other measures, according to Representative Jan Schakowski (D-IL), who introduced the bill together with Ed Markey (D-MA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). The bill currently has 11 cosponsors.

Small companies with annual gross incomes of under $1 million would be exempt from registration fees. In order for FDA to establish a list of prohibited ingredients, cosmetic manufacturers would have to conduct safety testing and submit results to FDA, according to the bill. Moreover, the Secretary of Health and Human Services would conduct random annual product tests for pathogens or contaminants. Manufacturers would be required to submit serious-adverse-event reports to FDA, as well. Other requirements include requiring cosmetic labels to list every product ingredient, including fragrance components.

Following the bill’s launch, the Personal Care Products Council’s (PCPC; Washington, DC) president and CEO Lezlee Westine stated, “We are concerned that the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 as written is not based on credible and established scientific principles [and] would put an enormous, if not impossible, burden on FDA...The measures the bill would mandate are likely unachievable, even with the addition of hundreds of additional FDA scientists and millions more in funding, and would not make a meaningful contribution to product safety.”

Instead, PCPC is pushing for a proposal the association recently sent to Congress. The proposal calls for facility registration, submitting ingredient reports and serious-adverse-event reports to FDA, setting safe levels for trace ingredients, having FDA review the safety of new ingredients, and establishing industrywide Good Manufacturing Practices.