This week the US Senate held a hearing on the Personal Care Products Safety Act, the most recent attempt to regulate the cosmetic industry.
The purpose of the hearing was for the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee to better understand the bill before they consider moving it forward. The bill must get past the committee in order for the entire Senate to vote on its passage – so the meeting is kind of a big deal.
Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein of California and Republican senator Susan Collins of Maine first introduced the Personal Care Products Safety Act at a Senate hearing in April 2015. The bill would give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to review ingredients in personal care products to determine if they are safe.
Both Feinstein and Collins spoke at the hearing Thursday along with Beth Jonas, Ph.D (chief scientist of the Personal Care Products Council. Other panel members included Scott Faber, senior vice president of government affairs for the Environmental Working Group; and Curran Dandurand, CEO and co-founder of Jack Black, a men’s skin care line.
If passed, the bill would require automatic review of five potentially harmful chemicals during the first year, such as propylparaben – a common preservative. Each year after that, another five ingredients will be chosen by the FDA based on feedback from researchers and companies. This review would help create a uniform safety standard for ingredients in personal care products.
Under this bill the FDA must also:
- Develop and implement cosmetic manufacturing standards that are consistent with existing national and international standards
- Be allowed to inspect a company's cosmetic safety records
- Recall a cosmetic that is likely to cause serious adverse health consequences
- Encourage cosmetic safety testing practices that minimize the use of animals
We'll be sitting on the edge of our seats waiting to see what happens with the Personal Care Products Safety Act. Meanwhile, you may want to take a closer look at the ingredient labels of your everyday items and swap them out for safer, more natural alternatives.