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Cosmetics Industry Reform Proposal Fails Public Health

Contact: 
(202) 667-6982
alex@ewg.org
For Immediate Release: 
Thursday, March 6, 2014

Washington, D.C. – Renee Sharp, research director at the Environmental Working Group said today that the cosmetics industry’s legislative proposal to reform cosmetics law would deprive the federal Food and Drug Administration of the power to keep hazardous substances out of personal care products.

“We are deeply disappointed that the cosmetics industry has refused to support reasonable reforms which would ensure that ingredients used in cosmetics are safe and to provide FDA with the tools to respond when dangerous ingredients enter the marketplace,” Sharp said.  “For too long, cosmetic ingredients have been virtually unregulated.  Yet many ingredients commonly found in personal care products pose serious risks to human health.  It’s time for the cosmetics industry to get serious about helping build a modern regulatory system that would give the industry certainty and guarantee consumers that the products they buy are safe.” 

EWG has not obtained the text of the industry proposal.  Its position is based on an unusually strongly-worded letter from Michael R. Taylor, deputy FDA commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, to representatives of two industry trade groups:  Lezlee Westine, president and chief executive officer of the Personal Care Products Council, and Pamela Jo Busiek, president and CEO of the Independent Cosmetics Manufacturers and Distributors.

In the letter made public today (Mar. 6), Taylor wrote that the industry’s bill “would actually reduce FDA’s current ability to take action against dangerous cosmetics.”  He added:

….Taken together with sweeping preemption provisions, which almost completely eliminate States’ authority to protect their citizens from unsafe chemicals in cosmetics, the provisions of the draft industry bill could put Americans at greater risk from cosmetic-related illness and injury than they are today.