The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee had the first Congressional hearing in 30 years on the safety of cosmetics and personal care products. The hearing was in response to public pressure from recent scandals including mercury in face cream, lead in lipstick and formaldehyde in hair products.
“It’s time for Congress to overhaul the 1938 cosmetic regulations that are utterly failing to protect public health. Personal care products from deodorants, to lotions to baby shampoos contain chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, learning disabilities and other health problems,” said Janet Nudelman, policy director of the Breast Cancer Fund.
[Read full article here at safecosmetics.org]
Until recently, I didn’t know that the toxicity of product ingredients is evaluated almost exclusively by a self-policing industry safety committee, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) panel. Testing is voluntary and controlled by the manufacturers, so many ingredients in cosmetics products are not safety tested at all. That’s right, “loopholes” in U.S. federal law allow the cosmetics industry to put unlimited amounts of chemicals into personal care products with no required testing, with no monitoring of health effects, and/or labeling requirements. Currently in the U.S. there is no regulating committee that:
- Reviews and approves cosmetics ingredients prior to their use in production
- Requires companies to conduct safety testing of cosmetics products before marketing them (warning labels)
- Requires manufacturers to register their cosmetic establishments, file data on ingredients, or report cosmetic-related injuries
- Approves cosmetic products or ingredients (except for color additives)
BE CONCERNED ABOUT PRODUCTS CONTAINING:
- Carcinogens such as formaldehyde, lead, DEA or coal tar
- Mutagens such as phenylenediamine (PPD) or butane
- Reproductive toxins such as phthalates, lead, toluene, glycol ethers, mercury, ethoxyethanol acetate, and propylparaben
Come on people! Carcinogens, mutagens or reproductive toxins do not belong in cosmetics and personal care products!!!! Isn’t that a no brainer? Apparently not to some people.
Okay so we need reform, and Congress has acknowledged it. The only problem is that there are at least three legislative proposals that are being considered. We need to ensure that the right legislation is passed and that we no longer let the cosmetic manufacturers police themselves because CLEARLY they aren’t very good at it. The answer is not animal testing or human testing but rather using safe alternative ingredients proven safe and effective that already in products on the market today.
“Essential public health protections could be set back another 70 years if industry gets away with writing its own laws that put industry profits over public health,” said Janet Nudelman from the Breast Cancer Fund.
For more information and information about how you can help make sure that Congress acts in the best interests of our health, click here