Previously I have blogged on the ills of some water and the dangers of a toothpaste. This blog is about cosmetics.
Currently, no law requires that any cosmetic products or ingredients, except for color additives, have FDA approval. This brings up the issue of “when is regulation good?”. If you are a business, then the answer might be a resounding never, unless it’s regulation of a competitor. As a consumer, regulations may be the seat belt of a runaway industry.
The last time that Congress enacted regulations for personal care products like shampoo and cosmetics, it was around the start of World War II. So if you do the quick math, it’s been almost 80 years since, while businesses keep making products that we use on our skin.
We don’t just stick our face in a Number 9 Washtub now. I use all kinds of products, shampoos and moisturizers and I still have Summer hair. Some are here and some are gone… Boom!
Skin is known to quickly absorb chemicals and certain ingredients that have been linked to cancer, a breakdown of immune systems, and even reproductive disorders.
If a shampoo causes your hair to fall out… there is no government agency that is regulating it for recall. This happened with hair products under the Wen brand.
A company called Beautycounter evaluated skin and beauty products and determined that there are more that 1500 chemicals lurking in these cosmetics that could be classified as harmful to us, or have already been linked to cancer. Their website is right here if you want to do some reading on their evaluations. They also sell products that they consider as safe, so it’s OK if your antennae goes up about whether they have an agenda.
On their site, they have a NEVER LIST that identifies products that can be found in these cosmetics that include formaldehyde, the synthetic antioxidnats of BHA and BHT as well as the skin-lightening chemical hydroquinone.
Organizations began lobbying Congress to do something about safety of these products instead of just turning a blind eye. In 2014, the Personal Care Products Safety Act was introduced. It would give the FDA the authority to test ingredients and issue mandatory recalls for unsafe products. There will be more debate on this bill but it does appear to be getting bipartisan support to indicate that some form of the bill will pass into law next year.
For now, independent companies like Mary Kay as well as the Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers and Distributors are opposing the bill. To give you a look into the bill as an example, the legislation would only require that the FDA test five products a year. Ironically, there are laws in European countries that have banned or restricted more than a thousand ingredients that had, at one time, been put into cosmetics.
And for pic o’ day, when dogs watch scary movies!