Another non-problem distracting the FDA: cosmetic safety.

By ACSH Staff — Oct 25, 2013
Scare-mongering anti-chemical activist groups have pressured the FDA into calling for more stringent oversight of the cosmetics industry. But there is no basis for this concern, and the FDA has many more urgent and important issues on their crowded plate than this nonsense.

Cosmetics funWhat s up with our Federal government these days? Now that the government has un-shutdown, we find the FDA, our regulator with oversight over about one-third of all the goods and products in our commerce, dealing with many important issues. As if they didn t have troubles enough assessing drug safety, how to deal with the supplement industry, food safety inspections, medical devices, and many other daunting responsibilities, they have been dithering over how (or even whether) to regulate tobacco and related products since 2009, with no discernible progress.

Why, then, did they turn their attention to the pressing matter of cosmetics? Has anyone noticed an epidemic of cosmetic-related illnesses? According to a news article in yesterday s Wall Street Journal, subtly entitled Cosmetics talks turn ugly, the journalist accuses the industry of backing out of an alleged agreement to cede some oversight authority to the FDA which had previously been the bailiwick of the cosmetics manufacturers and marketers themselves, under the aegis of the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Board (CIR). This body is comprised of independent scientists and physicians nominated by various stakeholder groups, who assess the safety of ingredients used in the U.S. The CIR, which receives its funding from the cosmetics industry, maintains total voting and editorial independence. Further, the FDA itself already has authority to assess safety of products deemed unsafe and remove them from the marketplace.

The trade association for the cosmetics industry denied backing out of any agreement, and said they remain open to further discussions with the FDA.

We should note that ACSH reviewed the question of cosmetic ingredient safety several years ago.

ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross added this commentary: As is so often the case with our federal regulators, the FDA's jihad to bring the cosmetics industry to heel is a solution in search of a problem. There is no evidence that cosmetics cause or exacerbate any human ailment aside from the uncommon allergic reaction. When you read about a chemical arousing mounting concern, you should realize this means that despite years of scientific scrutiny among researchers of anti-chemical bent, no threat has been detected--YET. But we can't be too careful! This concern is always whipped up by anti-chemical (anti-business) activist organizations seeking publicity and converts (i.e., donors).