The House of Representatives introduced new legislation to enhance disclosure of ingredients used in personal care products. Known as the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2018 (HR 6903) (the Act), the legislation seeks to both reveal the presence of known chemicals of concern in cosmetics products and ban certain ingredients from these products. Advocacy groups and many legislators welcome this legislation as an attempt to enhance the FDA’s ability to oversee cosmetics, which has been met with mixed success in the past. The bill is currently under review in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
The Act requires both consumer and professional cosmetic products to contain labels naming all their ingredients in order of concentration in the product. This mandate includes identifying chemicals of concern in cosmetics products. Second, the bill forbids several chemicals from being used in cosmetic production including toluene, the phthalates DBP and DEHP, styrene, triclosan, formaldehyde and parabens. The legislation also details procedures for expanding the lists of prohibited substances.
The introduction of legislation to exclude certain ingredients from personal care products is an attempt to give the FDA increased capabilities and authority to ensure the safety of consumers in the realm of beauty and cosmetics products. Other provisions of the proposed bill require manufacturers to remit a fee, register with the FDA, and submit relevant information pertaining to their products, including ingredients, warnings, and instructions for product use. The bill requires the FDA to create a database of information related to cosmetics information and implement procedures to detect contaminants in various cosmetics products. The FDA is also given the power to institute recalls if necessary.
HR 6903 would be a notable victory for its proponents, but its passage seems doubtful unless the Democrats make significant strides in the midterm elections. Other attempts by Congress to increase the FDA’s regulatory authority over cosmetics safety failed both in 2015 and 2017. One of those bills, the Personal Care Products Safety Act, introduced in 2017, sought to increase the FDA’s oversight over the industry, including giving the FDA recall rights for products that pose a direct threat to consumer safety.
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