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Safe Cosmetics Act Reintroduced to House of Representatives

Posted: July 6, 2011

On June 24, 2011, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and 10 co-sponsors introduced the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 (H.R. 2359) to the U.S. House of Representatives, which aims to amend Title VI of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The bill is an update to the Safe Cosmetic Act of 2010 (H.R. 5786), which was introduced into the House on July 20, 2010, and reportedly includes changes to ease potential burdens on small cosmetic manufacturers and to clarify the intent of the bill. According to a press release posted to Schakowsky's website, the Act requires stricter labeling requirements and gives the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the ability to order recalls of dangerous products.

The bill would require the secretary of the U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services (HHS) to conduct annual random sample tests for pathogens or contaminants in cosmetic products. In addition, it would require cosmetics manufacturers to register with the FDA and pay a registration fee based on annual gross receipts or sales. Small businesses with less than U.S. $2 million in revenue from cosmetics would be exempt from registration, and businesses with less than U.S. $10 million in revenue from cosmetics would be exempt from registration fees.

If passed, the bill would require the FDA to establish a list of ingredients that are prohibited from cosmetics, such as carcinogens and reproductive and developmental toxins. It would provide the FDA with recall authority for products that are misbranded, adulterated or that otherwise fail to meet the safety standard, and the FDA could request a voluntary recall or order the cessation of distribution of any such cosmetic product.

Cosmetic manufacturers, packagers and distributors would be required to provide the FDA with reports of adverse health effects associated with the use of any cosmetic. Also, manufacturers that create products for salon use would be required to provide information on any health hazards linked with those cosmetics.

“The growing number of reports of serious health problems arising from the use of dangerous chemicals in personal care products show a need to update our laws and protect men, women and children from harmful exposure,” said Rep. Schakowsky, in the press release. “Currently, manufacturers are not required to disclose all their ingredients on labels and the FDA has no power to supervise the use of toxic chemicals in cosmetics. Americans are left in the dark about harmful mystery ingredients in personal care products; consumers deserve confidence that the products that they use will not hurt them.”