The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is looking to further regulate not only name brand personal care products, but also the homemade beauty products that small, home-based business owners produce. Recent studies revolving around beauty products indicate that there are around 168 chemicals that women use on their bodies every day. Of the 168 chemicals, many are deemed to be harmless, but with little change in regulations since the 1930s, there is still a cause for concern. In a new 98 page bill that was crafted by Senators Susan Collins and Dianne Feinstein, called the Personal Care Products Safety Act, the goal is to make sure that harmful chemicals are regulated and potentially not added to daily beauty routines.
Collins and Feinstein are introducing this new amendment to the FDA as a way to expand protections on every day beauty products such as lotions, soaps and shampoos. The new bill would require personal care businesses to fill out registrations. These registrations would be on not only their products offered, but also on the ingredients found within each of the products. The Personal Care Products Safety Act would also require the FDA to do a review of five of the most commonly found chemicals in beauty products every single year. They would then have to evaluate the chemicals safety.
In the new bill there are already a set of chemicals listed for review by the FDA. The first five chemicals that would be under review are quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, propyl paraben, lead acetate and methylene glycol/formaldehyde.
The Senators worked with a nonprofit group known as the Environmental Working Group to create an outline of their bill. The Environmental Working Group created the Skin Deep Database which allows individuals to look up which chemicals can be found in their beauty products. Consumers can also see if these chemicals have been linked with any health risks.
Under the current regulations of the FDA, there is virtually no power to regulate beauty products, whether they are homemade or produced in mass quantities by big business. Previous attempts to change regulations on the different chemicals found in personal care products have gone nowhere, as they have not had much backing. Now however, there are a number of big businesses that are backing this bill. Companies such as Revlon, Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson are lending their support to the Personal Care Products Safety Act.
Cosmetic manufacturers will have to deal with significant costs associated with the new regulations. While big business will take a financial hit, it is the smaller, home-based businesses that will take the hardest hit. Although small and home-based businesses will receive a facility registration exemption, there are still other aspects of the bill that are a cause for concern.
In the bill Feinstein is not outright banning the harmful chemicals from use in products such as shampoo and soap. Instead, the bill would impose the use of warning labels and tests, plus there will be fees and the ability to issue recalls.
Currently the Handmade Cosmetic Alliance (HCA) has a form set up on their website for small business owners to send to Congress asking for help in opposing the bill as it stands. In the letter to Congress already outlined, the HCA points out that homemade products are typically crafted from food-grade products sold in the average store and that these products are not ingested. It also points out that the ingredients are commonly known and have already been deemed safe by the FDA. For many of these business owners there is no way for them to do the required reporting for every product batch.
While the bill itself is a step in the right direction from the FDA, since there needs to be regulations of chemicals used in beauty products (including those that are homemade), the fees and requirements associated with the Act threaten to put home-based companies out of business. Now is the time for small business owners to step forward and have their voices heard in order to have exemptions for their business included in any upcoming legislation.
By Kimberley Spinney
Health Impact News
Handmade Cosmetic Alliance
Photo by bublaninapinka – Flickr License