Congressional Hearing on Cosmetics Safety—Finally, Someone is Listening
Our voices have been heard. All of us who have expressed our concern over the toxic chemicals present in so many of today’s personal care products can celebrate the fact that on March 27, 2012, Congress held its first hearing on cosmetics safety in more than 30 years.
Repeated Toxic Alerts Reached Government Ears
You may have seen my posts on lead in lipstick, mercury in mascara, formaldehyde in personal care products, and phthalates in hair spray and baby lotion. These issues and more have prompted the House Energy and Commerce Committee in Washington, D. C. to convene a Congressional hearing on the topic of cosmetics safety.
During the hearing, members of Congress listened as witnesses came forward to voice their concerns about an industry that has seen little change in regulation since 1938. Manufacturers and the FDA are operating under laws that were set back when research on chemical ingredients was new. We know so much more now about how certain ingredients may impact human health, and while we must continue to conduct research, the results so far have indicated we need to be more cautious about what we’re bringing into our homes and putting on our bodies.
Members of Congress Speaking Out
The hearing was announced after 50 businesses and 50 environmental groups sent a letter to the Energy and Commerce Committee urging them to change regulations and phase out ingredients linked to cancer and hormone disruption. They also called for full disclosure of ingredients on labels including those chemicals used to make fragrances, as well as flavorings, colorants, and ingredients in salon products.
Some members of Congress are advocating for stricter regulations when it comes to cosmetics safety. According to Lisa Archer, director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, “Despite the heavy industry influence, safe cosmetics champions Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D–IL) and Ed Markey (D–MA) gave voice to the strong science supporting concerns about toxic chemicals in cosmetics and were staunch advocates for the public health, worker safety, and consumers’ right to know.”
Three Bills to Consider
Concerned members of Congress have already drawn up three bills that are currently circulating through the legislative offices. These include:
- The Safe Cosmetics Act by Schakowsky, Markey, and Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D–WI)
- A new bill introduced March 27, 2012, by Reps. Frank Pallone (D–NJ) and John Dingle (D–WI)
- A third proposal by the Personal Care Products Council—which seeks to have the FDA codify into law decisions made by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel about ingredient safety
This hearing is a move in the right direction. Stay tuned to see what comes of it. Let’s hope it results in meaningful, productive change that will improve the health of us all!
Have you been following this hearing? Have any comments? Please share!
Photo courtesy chucka_nc via Flickr.com.