Bill would boost FDA powers on risky personal care products

A bill filed by lawmakers in the US aims to shore up the FDA's powers to combat potentially hazardous counterfeit and adulterated cosmetics and personal care products.

The Personal Care Products Safety Act – tabled by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) – would give the FDA the authority to seize counterfeit cosmetic products and seek civil penalties for violations, amongst other new powers.

Versions of the bill have been introduced twice before in 2015 and 2019, but never made it onto the statute, in part because of industry lobbying to maintain the self-regulation status quo.

The latest attempt comes with industry support, including leading brands at multinational groups like Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, L'Oréal, Estee Lauder and Unilever, so may have a better chance at going through.

"We use personal care products every day, but most Americans don't know the government lacks authority to ensure the safety of products we put on our bodies and hair," said Feinstein.

"What's particularly striking is that when the FDA finds an unsafe product, it cannot force a company to stop selling it," she added. "Our bipartisan bill will finally bring the FDA into the 21st century by giving it authority to ensure personal care products are safe."

As it stands, US law does not require cosmetic products and ingredients, other than colour additives, to have FDA approval before they go on the market, although some laws and regulations apply to cosmetics on the market in interstate commerce.

A recently published study led by scientists at the University of Notre Dame found that more than half of 231 cosmetic products tested contained per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) – a group of harmful chemicals.

The compounds have been linked to immune system damage, harm to child development and the reproductive system and increased risk of certain cancers.

The PCPSA would also forbid companies from adding PFAS to their cosmetic products, companies to register with FDA, disclose the ingredients they use and attest that they have safety records for their products. Any serious adverse reactions to products would have to be reported to the FDA within 15 days.

"Americans use a variety of cosmetics and personal care products daily, including lotions, shampoos and makeup, and they should be able to trust that these products are safe to apply to their hair or skin," said Collins.

"By strengthening FDA oversight of the ingredients in personal care products for the first time in more than 80 years, our legislation would help protect the health of consumers, support small businesses, and provide regulatory certainty for manufacturers," she added.

A recent survey by Ipsos found that 65 per cent of consumers said they were buying more cosmetics online than a year ago, and around one in five (19 per cent) had unwittingly bought a counterfeit whilst shopping on digital channels in the last year.

Related articles:

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top