On May 11, 2017 Senator Feinstein of California and Senator Collins of Maine introduced S.1113 the Personal Care Products Safety Act. This is the first bill introduced to improve or update the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act which was passed in 1938. As we all can imagine it is woefully inadequate to address the huge changes that have occurred in this industry in the 80 years since then. Also this act did not give guidance or regulation to the cosmetic industry regarding transparency of ingredients.
The S.1113 act has not progressed much since its introduction and subsequent referral to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. The lack of movement is disappointing in itself, but also will not correct many of the aforementioned issues. Having said this, I prefer that they still move forward on this act for a few reasons.
First, it has the potential to help reduce animal testing for cosmetics. The act specifically states that it encourages
“the use of alternative testing methods that provide information that is equivalent or superior in scientific quality to the animal testing method”,
to “use fewer animals than conventional animal-based tests when non-animal methods are impracticable”,
as well as “encourage… the sharing of data across companies and organizations that are testing for safety in cosmetics ..to avoid duplication..” Since we know that most of the cosmetic brands are already owned by the same seven companies this should be a no-brainer. 7 companies own 182 beauty brands – INSIDER
The National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) would like to go much further and encourages you to contact your representatives to support a ban on the use of live animals for cosmetic and personal care testing. I agree with them on this however would like to see any movement that would prevent unnecessary cruelty. The NAVS link below provides a means to make your voice heard on banning animal testing for cosmetics. Demand that Personal Care Products Safety Act Includes Ban on Animal Testing – National Anti-Vivisection Society
According to Women’s Voices for the Earth there are a number of other positive impacts if the bill gets passed.
- Manufacturers must register their facilities, products and ingredients to the FDA.
- It closes labeling loopholes except for fragrances
- Reverses coal tar’s protected status
- The FDA will be required to assess the safety of five chemicals per year starting with the following
- Diazoidinyl urea
- Lead Acetate
- Methylene glycol/methanediol/formaldehyde
- Propyl Paraben
- Quaternium 15
These five ingredients are mostly related to preservatives which help increase shelf life for their products, however there are a number of safe preservatives available that they can use to reformulate safer products.
There are some provisions that were included to prevent overwhelming compliance issues for small businesses and small batch manufacturers. This is seen as a positive by some and a negative by others who are concerned that it leaves too great a gap. I like to support small batch suppliers and would not like to see any of them driven out of the industry.
Details for S. 1113: Personal Care Products Safety Act
Sponsored by Dianne Feinstein D-Calif. Introduced to the Senate on May 11, 2017 — Personal Care Products Safety Act This bill amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require cosmetics companies to register their facilities with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and to submit to the FDA cosmetic ingredient statements that include the amounts of a cosmetic’s ingredients.