Pass Health-Protective Laws
At a Glance
Most people assume personal care products and cosmetics are tested for safety before we buy them. In truth, the personal care products’ industry is one of the least regulated in the U.S. The federal law that governs cosmetic safety is more than 75 years old and gives the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) very little authority to regulate this $84 billion industry.
BCPP is committed to securing comprehensive, health-protective federal personal care product safety regulation. U.S. Congress must strengthen the FDA’s authority, including:
- Ensuring children, pregnant women, workers and other vulnerable populations are protected from unsafe chemicals in cosmetics and personal care products;
- Closing labeling loopholes by requiring full ingredient disclosure for professional salon products, fragrance ingredients and web-based sales of cosmetic products;
- Requiring industry data sharing of safety studies to assist small businesses and the FDA, and to decrease unnecessary animal testing;
- Mandating supply chain transparency so companies have access to the ingredient information and safety data they need to make safer products;
- Ensuring the public has easy access to adverse event reports related to cosmetic products that are causing real harm to large numbers of consumers.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a project of BCPP, is leading the way for cosmetic safety reform at the national level.
In the absence of federal oversight of the cosmetics industry, many states have taken steps to regulate the safety of personal care products to ensure consumers have access to safer products and more information about the products they buy.
- In 2013, Minnesota banned formaldehyde, a cancer-causing chemical, in children’s personal care products like lotions, shampoos and bubble baths. The ban against the use of formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives applies to products intended for children under eight.
- In 2008, the state of Washington adopted the Children’s Safe Product Act (CSPA – Chapter 70.240 RCW), which requires manufacturers of children’s products – including personal care products — sold in Washington to report to the state if their product contains a Chemical of High Concern to Children.
- In 2005, California enacted the Safe Cosmetics Act which requires manufacturers to disclose to the state any product that contains an ingredient known to the state to cause cancer or birth defects. The resulting California Safe Cosmetics Program Product Database is now actively reporting data from companies in a publicly accessible database.
Given the lack of federally mandated fragrance ingredient disclosure, consumers are looking to the states to fill the void. In response to interest from state advocates and legislators, BCPP drafted model state legislation to require fragrance ingredient disclosure for personal care products and cosmetics. In 2016, three states (VT, RI and MN) used this model bill to draft and introduce legislation requiring fragrance ingredient disclosure in personal care products. The bills didn’t pass, but a number of states have expressed interest in introducing similar bills in their 2017 state legislative sessions to build momentum for federally mandated fragrance ingredient disclosure.