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New Safe Cosmetics Act Introduced by Congress (June 2011)

Congress representatives introduced a new cosmetics act that would increase safety standards and require the removal of harmful ingredients from personal care products.

On June 24, 2011, Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Ed Markey (D-MA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 in an attempt to restructure the outdated federal law allowing the cosmetics industry to remain practically self-regulated.

The Act is designed to give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to ensure that personal care products are free from harmful ingredients such as cancer causing chemicals and hormone disruptors, and to make sure that all ingredients are disclosed.
Under the existing law- the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act of 1938 (FD&C Act) - decisions concerning ingredient safety are entrusted to the cosmetic industry, and the FDA cannot require companies to conduct safety assessments or to perform product recalls.

Provisions of the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 include the phasing out of ingredients linked to cancer, birth defects and developmental harm as well as the creation of a health-based safety standard that includes protections for children, the elderly, workers and other vulnerable populations.

The Bill will be referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee (HECC) for further considerations, however staff members of the HECC have indicated that the Bill tries to “do way too much” and therefore further action is not anticipated at this time.

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