ICMAD – Update: Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010

As we move towards the end of the 111th Congress, it is clear that H.R. 5786, the “Safe Cosmetic Act of 2010” will die in committee. While its Democratic sponsors may seek to reintroduce the bill in the 112th Congress it is doubtful that the House Energy and Commerce Committee, with its new Republican Chair, Fred Upton (MI), will give this bill any priority given the other more pressing matters facing the country and the fact that the bill is basically anti-business and hence bad for employment.

The “Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010”, which was introduced last July by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), was supported by the Environmental Working Group, as a part of their ongoing campaign against the Cosmetic industry. Schakowsky’s bill, was far more aggressive in its regulatory oversight of cosmetics by the FDA than the prior state counterparts that the EWG introduced in California, with success and in Colorado without success. Rather than require listings and warnings the Schakowsky bill required the wholesale review and preclearance of all cosmetic ingredients, and would have resulted, if passed, with cosmetics being far more stringently regulated than over the counter drug products. As an example of some of the more onerous and ridiculous provisions, the Schakowsky bill would have required ingredient declarations to declare not just ingredients but their components as well, leading to ingredient disclosures that looked like phone books. The proposed Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 went far beyond the registration, manufacturing and fee requirements that had been sought by legislation introduced by Congressman Dingell in the 110th Congress with the Food and Drug Administration’s Globalization Act of 2009.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the proposed Schakowsky bill is that she could find 22 fellow members of Congress to cosponsor the bill. Even a casual review of the legislation should have demonstrated the fallacy of the underlying assumptions and the faulty science that the EWG promotes to support its extreme positions. The track record of the industry is good and does not warrant such a heavy handed approach. Moreover the cost for administration by the government and compliance by the industry would have been staggering and would have led to substantially higher product prices making our companies less competitive on a global level. Many of our members would have been forced out of business. All this for a bill that provided no meaningful margin of additional safety.

While the EWG’s position may be flawed, their attacks on the industry cannot be ignored. They are well funded and have grass roots legislative campaigns going on in all the major states. The EWG has engaged in intense campaigns, disparaging first J&J and then Procter and Gamble. It has also supported class action law suits involving cosmetic products alleging, based upon questionable science, that certain chemicals used in cosmetic products are unsafe and have caused serious illnesses. The EWG maintains a well visited website which purports to rate the safety of a wide variety of cosmetic products, including many of our member’s products, again, on questionable basis.

In an attempt to address and counteract the activities of the Environmental Working Group and their campaign against the industry and specifically their activities to pass further state legislation like the California Safe Cosmetics Act, which serves no purpose other than being an additional compliance expense, ICMAD has been working on developing the capability to obtain early warnings of pending state legislation so that grass root campaigns can be developed to fight further state initiatives by the EWG. Additionally ICMAD’s President and Executive Director have been working with a Washington legislative group and representatives of the Personal Care Product Council to consider endorsing federal legislation that will help strengthen the federal cosmetics program by implementing certain of the currently voluntary programs that the industry has complied with for years therefore eliminating any need for further legislation along the lines proposed by the EWG at either the federal or state level. This legislative initiative would provide for federal preemption thus eliminating the risk of further state statutes like the California Safe Cosmetic Act. Consideration is also being given to supporting legislation that would afford cosmetics greater latitude in making truthful and non misleading product performance claims similar to the latitude that is afforded to dietary supplements.

We believe if legislation is inevitable, the legislation should be efficient in making sure there is only one standard for compliance and that is a federal standard which continues to ensure product safety without risking innovation and growth. Our industry and specifically our members have demonstrated that with entrepreneurial endeavors come innovation and growth which means job creation.


Personal Care Truth was given permission from ICMAD to re-post this news, which can be found here. ICMAD inadvertently posted the wrong version of this news on their site. This post has been updated to reflect the correct version.

  • Bruce

    It is starting to look like you should rename your website Personal care Sander, lies and scares. You state that EWG “has also instituted class action law suits involving cosmetic products alleging, based upon questionable science, that certain chemicals used in cosmetic products are unsafe and have caused serious illnesses.” Unless you have some proof of this you should retract your statement. I have looked and asked a few people that might know. Nothing I have found reveals anything other than that is a complete and utter lie. If you have some piece of evidence post it, otherwise you are quickly losing credibility and dragging your site down with it.

    • http://www.cactusandivy.com Lisa M. Rodgers

      Bruce –

      Your comment quickly reminded me of what was left off this post. This was a news post from the Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers & Distributors site, which I did not write, just shared. I appreciate your concern for my credibility and that of PCT but they are both just fine. As always, thanks for your comments.

      Merry Christmas to you and yours.


      • Bruce

        sorry. your name was listed in the about the author. Reposting slander and spreading lies is what you seem to be fighting against. So how can you in good conscience do this? Like I have said earlier, this site makes many claims and comments that are rarely if ever referenced. You all claim to be experts and follow science, but I have seen no scientific evidence. It seems you all are doing the same things you rally against. In the name of truth that this site proposes to try and represent you should reference or remove that comment. Spreading lies is just as bad as telling them.

        • http://www.cactusandivy.com Lisa M. Rodgers

          Hey Bruce –

          I’m sorry you feel I am the pot calling the kettle black and you don’t feel you’ve seen scientific evidence to the posts provided on PCT.

          There is an abundance of science on PCT and unlike the organizations that peddle fear, we provide the information for consumers to digest and make up their own minds.

          As I stated in my comment above, I did not write this post. I’m sure ICMAD can give you the definite of what they reference in their news release above.

          Now….moving on.

          The definition of instituted: Set in motion or establish (something, esp. a program, system, or inquiry).

          I can remember the following when it was posted on the CFSC website, and according to the law firm link below, it is an open class action lawsuit.

          “The following suit, filed March 19 in U.S. District Court in Chicago, will represent parents or other consumers who purchased any of an extensive list of products, if the court certifies the action.

          The findings were part of a study conducted by nonprofit, The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which tested commonly used baby products and found alarmingly high amounts of carcinogens, with 61 percent of the tested products containing both formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane and 82 percent containing formaldehyde at levels of at least 54 parts per million”.


          Now, you will probably say it’s the CFSC and not the EWG that is responsible for the studies and report of the ‘Toxic Tub’. Why then, I have to ask, does the reporter in the following news piece state “the Environmental Working Group found both toxic contaminates in 61% of 28 products tested”. Those numbers sound awfully familiar to the same numbers found in the ‘No More Toxic Tub’ report: http://www.safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=414

          You can even listen, straight from the horses’ mouth, Jane Houlihan, state they tested children’s products for 2 common contaminants.

          EWG on the ABC 7 News: ‘Toxic Tub?’

          Please spare me your righteous indignation.

          Merry Christmas!

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AJFX45BASW24X34JLDCXDFXFBI Bruce B

            once again loose sound bits blown way out of proportion to scare people, does that sound familiar?. Exactly what you are doing here. If the EWG tested the products, that is far different from starting a lawsuit, I hope even you can see that. There are finally references, but they lead to nothing that indicts the EWG in this case. One could say J&J started the lawsuits by ignoring the laws in the places they sell products.

            There are some here who do reference their facts, but the majority of what is said by the “experts” on this site are never referenced. Honestly, by replying or even continuing dialogue with this site I am giving it far too much credit.

            Merry Christmas

            I wish you luck

        • http://greenskincareblog.com/ Kristin Fraser Cotte


          As Lisa’s co-founder at PCT (and just catching up on all of this) I’m curious why you are directing such negative, generalizing statements and accusations at Lisa? This post was written by ICMAD, not Lisa… are you familiar with this organization?

          Also, any expert who discusses the science has included references with their work. Some of our experts discuss the impact of the science, or lack there of in proposed legislation. Their writing focuses more on legislation or impact on small businesses, in which scientific references may not be the focus… perhaps this is what you are referring to?

          The whole point of having multiple experts from various facets within the field brings a wider perspective from those with the most current, inside knowledge in the field. These experts are focusing their life’s research and work on specific areas within the field. I don’t know about you, but I learned while earning my own Master’s of Science degree that examining both qualitative and quantitative research from experts in the field is the most succinct path to the truth.

  • Anonymous

    I’m glad to see ICMAD taking a role here. Small businesses need allies.

  • http://twitter.com/soapsmiths Erin Denham

    Looks like this proposed bill has died in congress which is actually good news.

    Happy holidays to all.

    ~The Soapsmiths

  • http://www.cactusandivy.com Lisa M. Rodgers

    ICMAD emailed me to say the wrong version of the news update was posted on their site and the corrected version is now up. I have also updated this post to reflect the correct version.

    • http://www.sterlingminerals.com/ Katherine

      Well at least they corrected the article….after all nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes sometimes out of an urgency to post updated research or info asap.

      I have also done it such as in my SLS article which is now corrected to reflect the accurate data. Glad they let you know Lisa so PCT can’t be accused further of spreading lies.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Naomi-Lynn/620163675 Naomi Lynn

    After reading the bill, I too am against the ´safe´cosmetic act. It will pit small business against larger ones. There is nothing wrong with how things are operating right now. All we need to do is follow current FDA guidelines, take responsibility for our products, label our products correctly and all will be fine. I have never heard of someone dying because they used a lipstick. I do not think cosmetic companies are out to kill their consumers. It is silly and irrational. The new version of this bill would require small businesses to test every single batch of essential oils which is nearly impossible. This will put small businesses out of business all together.