Made-up Cosmetics Concerns

The Safe Cosmetics Act, now in a 2011 edition, is back in Congress — and its claims about cosmetics ingredient safety are about as superficial as the products it’s intended to regulate. Unlike the original bill, which would have required cosmetics companies to certify the safety of their products’ ingredients, the new version places this onus on the chemical suppliers instead. The new legislation would also require fragrance and flavor companies to disclose their ingredients lists, as well as give the FDA the authority to determine whether it should be included on the product label or simply be posted to the company’s website.

While the Personal Care Product Council (PCPC) worries that the new bill’s stipulations would strain the FDA’s already limited resources and raise costs for businesses and consumers, Janet Nudelman, director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and one of the bill’s authors, disagrees and asks why PCPC is drafting new legislation with the House Energy & Commerce Committee.

A frustrated ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross wonders why such needless regulations are being written by a chemophobic activist group whose only expertise lies in scaring the public and manipulating consumer fears about chemicals. “They even have the temerity to actually take ‘credit’ for calling cosmetics harmful and laced with such ‘toxic contaminants’ as phthalates, formaldehyde, and metals,” he says. “These products have been in widespread — indeed, universal — use for decades, and now, according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (a creature of the Environmental Working Group) and its lackeys in Congress, they have suddenly become a health hazard? Forcing public disclosure of cosmetic ingredients will have absolutely no benefit, since these ingredients are, in fact, not harmful. Moreover, requiring companies to disclose proprietary information will likely impede their normal business practices — which may, in fact, be the underlying motivation of these activists who are nothing if not anti-business and anti-technology.”

ACSH’s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan is appalled that Ms. Nudelman has “the consummate gall to advise the PCPC not to try to modify the ridiculous draft. The advocates of cosmetic safety ‘reform’ also throw in the ‘chemicals have never been tested for safety’ mantra — a proxy for the precautionary principle. It seems like the inmates are trying to take over the asylum, again.”

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