Should Personal Care Products Come With Warnings? Senators Introduce the Personal Care Products Safety Act

Senator Dianne Feinstein Calls for Stronger Cosmetics Regulation

Women, safety, and cosmetics. How’s that for a trifecta? Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Susan Collins introduce The Personal Care Products Safety Act, calling for stronger FDA regulation.

We can’t view a TV show or sit in the passenger seat of a car without reading a warning on the possible detriment it may pose to our health or well being. We have to sign waivers for every group event our kids attend and promise (in writing) that we are able to perform physical activity when obtaining a gym membership.

Many daily events are met with cautionary recommendations and disclaimers. It’s the world we live in.

The one thing we can do with no forewarning is apply toxins to our bodies. There is no adequate regulation of cosmetics or personal care products in our country, and this means we are on our own when determining the safety of a product.

In our caution obsessed society, personal care product safety has definitely taken a back seat. The $60 billion per year industry has not seen updated regulations in 75 years. But two female senators have their sights set on turning that around.

This past Monday, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced The Personal Care Products Safety Act, a new bipartisan bill aimed to get the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) more involved in cosmetic and personal care product safety. A move that would work toward getting the U.S. closer to the higher levels of cosmetic regulation employed by the European Union.

The proposal, which is being backed by The Environmental Working Group and many (surprisingly non-green) personal care manufacturers, would require studies on five ingredients each year and the ability to recall products deemed dangerous.

The first round of ingredients to go under scrutiny are propylparaben (a commonly used synthetic preservative), lead acetate (used as a colorant in hair dye), methylene glycol (found in hair straighteners, like the Brazilian Blowout), and diazolidinyl urea and quaternium-15 (used as preservatives).

Parabens, as you likely know, have been a press favorite for the past few years because of their link to breast cancer. These synthetic preservatives are widely used and have been found intact in breast tumors and are believed to act like estrogen in the body. Lead acetate is a heavy metal found in progressive hair colorants, like those for men. It is a suspected human carcinogen. And the last three on the list are formaldehyde-releasing ingredients. Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen.

This legislation would also cover safety reports and allow the FDA to recall products. A manufacturer would be required to report “serious” health issues from its products (like hospitalization, disfigurement, or death) within 15 days. “Nonserious” reports (like rashes) would have to be reported annually.

It seems crazy that ingredients with the ability to mess with our hormones and cause cancer are still allowed in cosmetics. Any steps taken to holding manufacturers more accountable for product safety are in the right direction and long overdue.

It is important to keep in mind that you need to decide for yourself whether a product is safe. Read ingredient listings and follow brands you trust.

Related on EcoSalon

Annie Leonard’s The Story of Cosmetics: Essential News About Your Beauty Products

American Beauty: Why Europe Bans Cosmetics America Won’t

Dangerous Toxins In Personal Care Products Exposed in Online Cosmetics Database

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Liz Thompson

Liz Thompson is an organic beauty expert who has been researching and writing on the subjects of natural beauty, health, and wellness for over 10 years. She specializes in sharing safe beauty products and her knowledge on healthy ingredients with her readers, and helping organic beauty brands and shop owners share their message and products with the world through her writing services.