Speaking of trumped up chemical fears, a recent bill introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) is calling on the FDA to start regulating the cosmetics industry, which has largely been exempt from the agency’s control. If the new proposal were enacted, the FDA would be allowed to ban cosmetics ingredients that have been linked to cancer and reproductive disorders, and cosmetics companies would be required to add ingredients labels on fragrances and salon products.
While the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC), the cosmetics industry’s trade group, acknowledges that the regulatory structure needs some modifications, they believe that the latest bill would impede innovation and compromise trade secrets. That’s why PCPC has turned to Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), who has proposed his own bill that would require the FDA to investigate safety concerns only when petitioned by an outside party. In addition, companies would be required to report on their facilities, product ingredients, and any adverse events associated with the use of their products.
But such amendments do not satisfy Janet Nudelman, the policy director of the Breast Cancer Fund, which sponsors the notorious Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. These are the same activists who claimed earlier this year that the levels of lead found in lipstick pose a health risk, even though the FDA dismissed these accusations and maintained that the lipsticks were not a safety concern.
“As always,” says ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross, “the crusade for ‘safer’ cosmetics raises the question: Have cosmetics been shown to be unsafe, somehow, somewhere?”
And as ACSH’s Dr. Ruth Kava observes, “Campaigns against the alleged health effects of cosmetic ingredients may exist for one particular purpose: to generate a new market for so-called natural and organic products.”