Americans Want Stronger Regulation of Cosmetics

New Poll Finds Wide Support the Personal Care Products Safety Act

WASHINGTON – A survey released today by the Mellman Group and American Viewpoint shows that voters overwhelmingly support stricter regulation of the chemical ingredients used in their personal care products.

More specifically:  

  • 94 percent believe that companies should be required to notify the government when their products injure consumers.
  • 87 percent believe federal officials should have the authority to recall personal care products found to contain toxic chemicals.
  • 87 percent want stricter regulation of personal care products.
  • 74 percent are less likely to purchase products from companies that fight regulation.
  • Almost two-thirds of likely voters want their cosmetics to be safe.
  • A third are under the mistaken impression that the government has cleared most of the chemicals used in personal care products. 

“These poll results show that Americans want to ensure that the personal care products they use each and every day are safe,” said Scott Faber, vice president of government affairs at EWG. “Few consumers have any idea how minimal the current regulation of chemicals is. No other class of products is so widely used, and in such large quantities, with so few safeguards.”

There is very little regulation of the $60 billion-a-year personal care products industry. The federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act, which was supposed to guarantee the safety of cosmetics, is nearly 80 years old and falls far short of ensuring that cosmetics are safe.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have introduced a bipartisan bill to close this regulatory gap. It would require companies to ensure that their products are safe before putting them on the market and give the Food and Drug Administration the tools it needs to protect the public. The legislation, titled the Personal Care Products Safety Act, would strengthen federal regulations that have remained largely unchanged since 1938, requiring the FDA to review five potentially risky cosmetics ingredients each year and giving it the agency authority to ban or restrict ingredients based on these assessments.

This is the first time that federal legislation on this issue has earned the support of both consumer and industry groups including the Personal Care Products Council, leading cosmetic companies and major public health organizations.

 “Under the Feinstein-Collins cosmetics bill, the FDA would be empowered to know what’s in our personal care products and require companies to create their products in a clean environment,” Faber said. “This legislation would give the agency the basic tools to know when something has gone wrong and the power to take action to protect consumers.”

For decades, EWG has been filling the gap in federal regulation by educating consumers about the ingredients in their cosmetics and personal care products. EWG’s Skin Deep database and mobile scanning app provide safety and rating information on more than 60,000 products, making it possible for consumers to choose the safest options for themselves and their families.

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