Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

Tell Your Representative to Support the Safe Cosmetics & Personal Care Products Act

Bottles“The last thing you want to worry about first thing in the morning is whether the products that make us and our children clean and comfortable also contain cancer-causing chemicals.” So said Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) of the bill he's co-sponsoring with Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). “From diaper cream to deodorant, our medicine cabinets are filled with personal care products that may contain harmful ingredients. This bill will help close the gaping holes in federal law.”

At present, the FDA does not review the ingredients in the broad category of "cosmetics" (including soaps, shaving cream, lotions, and many other products), which means the majority of the products we use on our bodies may never have been safety tested.  The FDA does require manufacturers to disclose most of their ingredients, but companies can hide hundreds of chemicals under a single vague term like "fragrance."  The bill sponsored by Markey and Shakowsky aims to close many of these loopholes, and establish greater oversight authority for the FDA.

“The simple truth is that everyday products that women, men, and children use contain ingredients that can cause cancer as well as reproductive and developmental harm,” said Rep. Schakowsky. “Consumers think the Food and Drug Administration is a watchdog preventing harmful ingredients from being in their shampoos, cologne, makeup, deodorants, lotions, and other products, but the truth is, the FDA has little power under current law. This bill will remedy that.”

Among other advances, their legislation would:

  • Empower the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish oversight of cosmetics manufacturing, including maintenance of a list of ingredients prohibited from being used in cosmetics.
  • Establish recall authority for the FDA to pull from the market any products that are misbranded, adulterated, or otherwise fail to meet the safety standard.
  • Require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct annual random sample tests for pathogens or contaminants in cosmetic products.
  • Requires companies that manufacture cosmetics for commercial use to provide information on any health hazards linked with those products, to protect salon workers.

Tell your Representative that you want safe personal care products for you and your family.  Ask him or her to sign on as a co-sponsor of the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act. Or, if you're represented by  Reps. Schakowsky or Markey, send them your thanks!  Feel free to edit and amend our short note to make your message to your representative reflect your personal connection to this issue.


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