Congress takes action on cosmetics, but major flaw in bill must be addressed to ensure salon worker and consumer safety
Women’s Voices for the Earth is pleased Senators Feinstein and Collins have introduced the Personal Care Products Safety Act (S. 1014). The bill presents a real opportunity to protect salon workers and consumers from harmful exposure to toxic chemicals in cosmetics. Consumers are exposed to a host of chemicals from everyday use of products, and salon workers are disproportionately impacted by exposure to chemicals like formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate (often found in nail polish, for example) because they work with these chemicals for long periods of time for days on end. This new bill addresses a number of issues that are overlooked in current regulation and are necessary to help protect salon workers’ health. These include:
- Providing the FDA with the authority to issue mandatory recalls of dangerous products
- Requiring disclosure of most ingredients in salon products (except for fragrance)
- Requiring mandatory reporting of any harmful or adverse reactions salon workers encounter from products exposed to at work
- And finally, requiring the FDA to perform a safety review of formaldehyde and other cosmetic ingredients within the first year (and thereafter the FDA is required to review at least 5 chemicals a year)
We urge the Senate HELP committee to consider the bill and ask the committee to include amendments that address the most significant shortcomings of the legislation. The bill’s major weakness is the fact it allows manufacturers to determine ingredient safety based on “adequate evidence”. Unfortunately, this means safety assessments could be issued by the industry-funded Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel and the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials. This is essentially the system we have in place now – and it’s failing to provide adequate protection. Manufacturers should be required to meet a more stringent safety standard that won’t rely on industry-backed science.
Women’s Voices for the Earth looks forward to working with Senators Feinstein and Collins and members of the HELP committee to ensure strong protections for salon workers and consumers are included in the bill. To read Women’s Voices analysis of the bill, click here.