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US FDA Plans First Cosmetic Allergen Survey in Decades

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is preparing to launch a consumer survey about allergens in cosmetics—the first of its kind in 43 years. The public is invited to respond to the preliminary draft for 60 days, as of Nov. 8, 2018. 

The project, titled “Web-based Pilot Survey to Assess Allergy to Cosmetics in the United States,” is meant to help improve the FDA’s understanding of “consumer perceptions and awareness as well as consumer behavior regarding allergens in cosmetics.” This includes how consumers make their purchasing decisions when avoiding certain ingredients (if at all); the frequency of adverse events believed to be caused by cosmetics and when they are reported; and when consumers contact health care providers.

The proposed survey would include a 20-minute-long, web-based questionnaire sent to a pool of 1,000 English-speaking adults. This panel is meant to represent the U.S. adult population, chosen via address-based sampling of all U.S. adults with an address.

Through the survey, the FDA also hopes to increase consumer awareness of its Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Adverse Events Reporting System (CAERS), which made its data public in December 2016.

This is not the FDA’s first foray into understanding allergens in cosmetics; the organization conducted a comprehensive literature review of 26 fragrances identified as allergens in the European Union in 2015-16, which was expanded in 2016-17 to review other cosmetic ingredients. The last consumer survey on consumer perceptions of cosmetics was conducted in 1975.

As stated, the survey will be open to public comment for 60 days as of Nov. 8, 2018, per the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. Electronic comments can be submitted here: www.regulations.gov.

For more on the survey, please visit: www.federalregister.gov.