Thursday, May 30, 2013

Cosmetic Safety in the U.S. House HR 1385 – How to Take A Fantastic Idea and Muck it Up with Business Taxes, Registration and Over-Regulation.

What's in your lipstick? That can be troubling, a bill to insure consumer safety, goes too far, and stands no chance of passage - photograph by

Every woman in this country would be better served if the cosmetics used by herself and her family were essentially safe. The products one considers cosmetic range from diaper creams to men’s hair dye, to lipstick and cologne – all of which may contain substances that are carcinogenic, or offer a host of other toxic problems. Simply put, there is little in the way to protect the consumer, other than reading the label, should one exist. Most high end cosmetic companies do list ingredients in their products, including all products mentioned in the newly revamped HR1385 (read bill here), which has apparently reduced fees and regulations on smaller businesses, but, falls short in over-the top regulation that will end up costing consumers more in the long run.

The outlook by the American Sustainable Business Counsel suggests:

The sadly outdated U.S. law on cosmetic safety went virtually unchallenged until 2011, when the Safe Cosmetics Act was introduced in Congress. This bill would have given the FDA the authority and resources it needs to oversee the cosmetics industry, helping ensure that personal care products are free of ingredients linked to cancer, reproductive, neurological or developmental harm. It also would ensure that all ingredients are fully disclosed on product labels and on company websites, so that consumers can make informed decisions about their cosmetics purchases. Unfortunately, it died in committee.

But on March 21, 2013, the Safe Cosmetics Act (H.R. 1385) was reintroduced by Rep. Janice Schakowky [IL-9]. The bill has 15 co-sponsors and is currently seeking the consideration of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, as well as the House Energy and Commerce Committee. This bill introduces new measures that would bring the cosmetics industry into the 21st Century, which would benefit consumers, workers, and businesses.

The original 2011 bill was criticized by small businesses for its registration, fee and reporting requirements. The updated 2013 bill exempts businesses with annual sales receipts under $10 million from fees, and exempts businesses with annual sales receipts under $2 million from registration. This means that the updated bill promotes consumer safety while also enabling innovation by small and young companies.

Although the increased use of potentially toxic chemicals is generally seen as negative, one positive outcome is consumers’ increasing concern about exposure to chemicals. As a result, the market for natural and organic cosmetic and personal care products has grown steadily in recent years. As consumers increasingly seek safer products for themselves and their families, a growing number of companies are working to meet this demand – both because they want to do the right thing, and because they know they can make greater profits in the long run.

But these cosmetics manufacturers need objective, up-to-date scientific information to guide a marketplace where businesses throughout their supply chain, and ultimately consumers, can trust that the ingredients in their products are safe. Lack of full disclosure on the part of ingredients suppliers has lead to bad press, damage to company reputations, and costly recalls and reformulations for companies like Johnson & Johnson and Method, which inadvertently sold products containing toxic contaminants that were byproducts of the ingredients manufacturers’ production processes. The Safe Cosmetics Act will reduce costs to companies by eliminating the inadvertent use of such harmful ingredients in their products.

The Safe Cosmetics Act will give the FDA the authority and resources it needs to help ensure that personal care products are free of ingredients linked to cancer, reproductive or developmental harm, and to ensure that ingredients are fully disclosed on product labels and company websites. This will deliver benefits to consumers and businesses alike. It will boost confidence in the cosmetics industry by allowing consumers to make fully informed decisions about the products they buy. It will level the playing field for companies that are already dedicated to manufacturing safe cosmetics. It will make U.S.-manufactured cosmetics competitive in the global market, create new opportunities for innovation in safer alternatives to ingredients deemed to be detrimental to human health and reduce companies’ exposure to liability arising from the inadvertent use of harmful ingredients in their products.

One might think that to simplify and protect consumers at the same time, it would behoove the Congress to rewrite, once again, this great idea of a Bill, to allow for oversight of the industry, by simply stating chemicals must be labled on all products – and those that the consumer might finds objectionable – carry a warning – similar to those found on say – ciggareetts. No need for fees, or needing government permission to produce a product. The bill extends to Salons, the Salon employees (who should, as graduates of a rigid scientific program of study – one must know what is in those solutions – and they must carry licesnes to boot) is rediuclous, given the fact that those employees should be aware of what is in the product in the fisrst place.

Rewrite the Bill and take it back to the floor where itwould stand better than a zero chance of passing. Take out the fees, and the incrfesae in need for more bureaucracy. As the beauty industry itself has grown more “organic “in recent years, one finds that companies such as Tarte, Wen, Hourglass, Josie Marin, to name only a few, produce exemplary products, which are labeled and include their ingredients. Therefore, as the industry evolves, with more companies turning to natural products, (including Vegan), one might think this bill is more show than pony. Perhaps fewer lawyers involved, and the addition of a business executive and a doctor (surely there must be one of two of those in the House that could be invited to sit in on this Bill.) would perfect it to the point where something might get passed.

That said, it would be lovely to know that the product one is using for body, hair or baby’s butt is safe from toxins – therefore, labeling would be beneficial, and that is all that is required. If the substances are so toxic as to be considered unsafe for Hazmat – then they should be banned for use near any human and/or animal.

One would like to think the aforementioned would be the work Congress is doing, yet…the effort should be applauded in part, and suggestions sent to one’s local Congressman or Woman to fix it so that a) it doesn’t’ cost consumers an arm and a leg, and b)it keeps men, women and children safer.

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