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Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act

It's up to Congress to close gaping holes in the outdated federal law that allows cancer-causing chemicals in baby shampoo, hormone disruptors in fragrance and lead in lipstick.That's what you get when you have a $50 billion industry that's practically self-regulated.

The Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2013 (H.R. 1385), introduced on March 21, 2013 by Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill. and Ed Markey, D-Mass., is designed to give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authority to ensure that personal care products are free of harmful ingredients and that ingredients are fully disclosed.

Existing law – the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act of 1938 – cedes decisions about ingredient safety to the cosmetics industry. Under the current law, the FDA can't require cosmetics companies to conduct safety assessments, and can’t even require product recalls. In a recent example, the FDA could not issue a mandatory recall of Brazilian Blowout hair straightening products even after they were found to contain formaldehyde.

Who Will Be Affected?

This legislation and subsequent reintroduction will affect every American – everyone who puts on moisturizer or uses shampoo or deodorant. More and more people are concerned about unsafe chemicals in our everyday lives, and getting these toxics out of the stuff we rub on our bodies every day is just common sense. It will also help the cosmetics industry by fostering the development of the safer products American consumers are demanding.

Good for Consumers, Businesses, and Innovation

This legislation will be good for consumers, but it will also level the playing field for businesses that are making the safest products.

New advances in science have exposed the health risks of repeated exposures to low-dose hazardous chemicals – while also enabling green chemists to develop safer, non-toxic formulas. The cosmetics industry as a whole has not kept pace with safety innovations due to a weak regulatory system that encourages ignorance about chemical hazards and allows companies to hide the true toxicity of products.

What's in the Legislation?

Provisions of the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2013 include:

  • Phase-out of ingredients linked to cancer, birth defects and developmental harm;
  • Creation of a health-based safety standard that includes protections for children, the elderly, workers and other vulnerable populations;
  • Elimination of labeling loopholes by requiring full ingredient disclosure on product labels and company websites, including salon products and the constituent ingredients of fragrance;
  • Worker access to information about unsafe chemicals in personal care products;
  • Required data-sharing to avoid duplicative testing and encourage the development of alternatives to animal testing; and
  • Adequate funding to the FDA Office of Cosmetics and Colors so it has the resources it needs to provide effective oversight of the cosmetics industry.
What You Can Do

Ask your U.S. Representative to co-sponsor the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2013. Congress needs to know that this issue is important to constituents!

Learn more about this issue and get your friends and family involved: Watch the short film, The Story of Cosmetics, and share it with people in your life.

More Information

Press Release: Toxic Chemicals in Cosmetics, Shampoos, Targeted by Congress (March 21, 2013)

Cosmetics Manufacturers: What does the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act mean for your business?

Fact Sheet: The need for federal safe cosmetics legislation (PDF)

Contact for legislative offices: Janet Nudelman, Director of Program and Policy, Breast Cancer Fund, 415-346-8223 x24