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Industry Front-Group trying to look like Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

by Danika CarterGreenwala
May 31st, 2012

The saying goes, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."  If that's true, then the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics must be feeling very flattered these days. 

A few days ago I stumbled across an organization called The Safe Cosmetics Alliance.  If you go to their webpage, they at first seem like an ally in the fight against toxic beauty products.  Their mission says:

The Safe Cosmetics Alliance represents the men and women working in the personal care product and services industry committed to providing the highest quality and safest products - from manufacturers to your local salon owner. We support science-based legislative and regulatory policies that enhance current consumer safeguards and strengthen FDA oversight of cosmetic and personal care products to ensure continued product safety.

And they highlight a bill they want to have passed in Congress.  It says:

Tell Congress: Modernize Cosmetics Regulation

Your support of the Cosmetic Safety Amendments Act of 2012 is crucial to creating jobs and maintaining the highest safety standards for cosmetics.

H.R. 4395, the Cosmetic Safety Amendments Act of 2012 will:

  • Modernize and strengthen regulations to provide greater transparency to consumers.
  • Establish the FDA as the primary authority on cosmetics safety.
  • Promote innovation and economic growth in the industry.
  • Join us in urging Congress to support updated safety standards for products that millions of Americans trust and depend on each and every day.

Sounds ok, right?  But when you dig a little deeper it appears to be an industry front-group that is trying to cash in on, and divert attention away from the good work being done by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.  Their coalition consists of: the Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers & Distributors (ICMAD), International Fragrance Association North America (IFRA), Professional Beauty Association (PBA), Direct Selling Association (DSA), and the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC).  Many of these groups are the very ones that have been opposing the Safe Cosmetics Act, and the work of the Environmental Working Group and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

When you look at the articles they link to, they all support the ingredients and products that many of us try to avoid and advocate against. They are pushing hard to get people to support their bill, but no where on their site is there a link to read the full text of the bill to see if the claims they are making about what it will do are valid. 

It seems more like they are trying to silence the small manufacturers of nontoxic products, many of whom started their businesses in their kitchens by requiring every personal care manufacturing facility to register with the FDA.  They are also requiring every ingredient list for every product on the market.  This will make it prohibitive for small companies and start-ups. Also, there is nothing in this bill that requires products nor their ingredients to be safe.  Rather than focusing on making it more difficult for small businesses to operate, they should be focused on improving the safety of the products that are already on the market.  Their website instead seems to feel that the personal care industry is producing perfectly safe products and so no changes are needed there.