FDA Looking to Regulate Homemade Beauty Products


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


Medical Daily

Health Impact News

Handmade Cosmetic Alliance

Photo by bublaninapinka – Flickr License

4 Responses to "FDA Looking to Regulate Homemade Beauty Products"

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  4. Aaron - HSHL   May 4, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    I’m glad this article points out the pros and (major) cons of this bill, unlike most other publishers. The exemptions listed here aren’t really going to apply to anyone doing cosmetics as a full-time job unfortunately. The cutoff for the exemption is based on a meager gross sale that only hobbyists would be excluded from the bill.

    I started a small handmade cosmetic company not too long ago. And while I agree with the author that this is a bill in the right direction (and exactly what we stand for as HSHL), it is also the worst possible approach. Restricting chemicals that are rarely (or never) used in small batch natural handmade bath & beauty is one thing, but slapping annual fees on small companies, regulating each formula, and requiring paperwork to back production is a completely different issue. There’s a reason the big corporations (that use these dangerous chemicals that this bill restricts) are supporting the bill, it puts a squeeze on the small natural companies that may very well be the only form of competition to these large corporations.

    If the FDA really cared to restrict dangerous chemical usage, they would do the same thing they currently do to restrict ingredient usage – force you to put something on your label. If you were forced to put “contains known carcinogens” in large print on each label that contained certain ingredients, consumers would decide if they wanted to buy the product or not. This concept is a little thing called free market; it’s what this country is founded on. I’m all for supporting the restriction of dangerous ingredients in cosmetics, but I’m 100% against this bill! I’m also against the misinformation spreading across the internet about how great this bill is for all the consumers. The consumer always had a choice, and the educated consumer always made the right choice.


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