Federal consumer safety law has not been updated in 83 years
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the Personal Care Products Safety Act, bipartisan legislation that would update the 83-year-old law governing the Food and Drug Administration’s oversight of these products. The bill would help protect consumer health and strengthen the FDA’s authority to ensure the safety of personal care products and their ingredients. The Personal Care Products Safety Act has been endorsed by nearly 20 organizations, including Burt’s Bees.
“Americans use a variety of cosmetics and personal care products daily, including lotions, shampoos and makeup, and they should be able to trust that these products are safe to apply to their hair or skin,” said Senator Collins. “By strengthening FDA oversight of the ingredients in personal care products for the first time in more than 80 years, our legislation would help protect the health of consumers, support small businesses, and provide regulatory certainty for manufacturers.”
“We use personal care products every day, but most Americans don’t know the government lacks authority to ensure the safety of products we put on our bodies and hair,” said Senator Feinstein. “What’s particularly striking is that when the FDA finds an unsafe product, it cannot force a company to stop selling it. Our bipartisan bill will finally bring the FDA into the 21st century by giving it authority to ensure personal care products are safe.”
The FDA and product safety experts have noted concerns about the use and concentration of certain ingredients in personal care products that haven’t been independently reviewed for health effects. For example, according to the FDA, most hair smoothing and straightening products release formaldehyde gas, a known carcinogen. Formaldehyde exposure can cause short- and long-term health problems.
The Personal Care Products Safety Act would empower the FDA to review product ingredients and provide companies with clear guidance, including whether ingredients should continue to be used and if consumer warnings are necessary. It would also require the FDA to issue recalls on products likely to cause significant harm if companies refuse to do so voluntarily – an authority the FDA currently lacks.
Specifically, the legislation would:
· Require companies to register with FDA, disclose the ingredients they use, and attest that they have safety records for their products.
· Require companies to report serious adverse events (such as infections that require medical treatment) to FDA within 15 days and an annual summary of all reported adverse health events (including less serious reactions, such as rashes).
· Direct FDA to issue a ban on products that intentionally contain the harmful chemical PFAS (perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances).
· Require FDA to issue regulations outlining good manufacturing practices for personal care products.
· Require FDA to provide technical assistance and additional flexibility for smaller businesses to comply with the law.
· Require websites selling cosmetics to include full labeling information, including ingredients and warnings.
· Give FDA the authority to seize counterfeit cosmetic products and seek civil penalties for violations.
· Allow state product safety laws in effect prior to the date of enactment to remain in effect.
· Authorize FDA to collect user fees from manufacturers to fund oversight activities, similar to what is done for medications and medical devices.
Earlier this week, Senator Collins introduced the No PFAS in Cosmetics Act, bipartisan legislation that would ban the inclusion of PFAS chemicals in cosmetics products, such as make-up, moisturizer, and perfume.
Click HERE to read the text of the bill.