Support the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2019

Most of us assume beauty and personal care products are tested for safety before they land on store shelves. The reality could not be farther from the truth.  Companies can and do legally use chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and reproductive harm in the cosmetic products we use every day and a shocking number of dangerous chemicals hide in personal care products and cosmetics under the word “fragrance” on product labels.

A new bill introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Democrat-IL) has the power to transform the U.S. beauty and personal care products industry. The Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2019 is the only federal bill that holds cosmetic companies accountable for the safety of the ingredients in their products; requires supply chain transparency and industry sharing of safety data to help level the playing field for small, clean cosmetic companies; closes the federal labeling loophole that allows secret—often toxic fragrance chemicals—to hide in cosmetic products; bans most animal testing; and tackles the over-exposure to toxic chemicals experienced by communities of color and professional salon workers.

Strong provisions in the bill would advance the FDA’s ability to protect Americans’ health by:

  • Immediately banning some of the most toxic chemicals in cosmetics;
  • Protecting vulnerable populations including infants, children, pregnant woman workers and other highly exposed populations by creating a safety standard for cosmetic ingredients based on a reasonable certainty of no harm;
  • Requiring companies to register their facilities, products and ingredients with the FDA, and comply with good manufacturing practices;
  • Providing public access to serious adverse event reports; and
  • Providing the FDA with clear authority to recall products found to be unsafe or misbranded.

Take Action: Add your organization or company’s name to the list of formal endorsers 


Strengthen the Personal Care Products Safety Act of 2019

Meanwhile, we are working to strengthen cosmetic safety legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Feinstein (D-CA) and Collins (R-ME)–“The Personal Care Products Safety Act of 2019 (S.726).” BCPP’s Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has taken a “support if amended” position on this bill because:

    1. It fails to require the disclosure of toxic fragrance ingredients.
    2. It does not have a strong enough safety standard.
    3. It allows industry to self-certify the safety of cosmetic ingredients.
    4. It does not make adverse serious event reporting public.
    5. It prohibits states from legislating on cosmetic safety.


FDA’s Lack of Authority

The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act (FFDCA) includes 112 pages of standards for food and drugs, but just two pages for cosmetic safety. The cosmetics title of the FFDCA, which has not been amended significantly since it was enacted more than 80 years ago, provides the FDA with virtually no power to regulate the safety of an estimated $100 billion domestic cosmetic industry.

What the FDA Cannot Do

  • Require companies to conduct pre-market safety testing of cosmetics products and ingredients.
  • Review or approve cosmetic products or ingredients before they are sold to the public.
  • Require mandatory recalls of cosmetic products that are harming human health.
  • Require manufacturers to register their cosmetic establishments, ingredients or report cosmetic-related injuries. Instead, FDA relies on voluntary reporting of ingredients, injuries and establishments.

What the FDA Does Not Know

  • The overall number of ingredients in personal care products.
  • The ingredients in a particular product that lists “fragrance” as a mask for dozens to hundreds of component chemicals.
  • The number and location of companies that manufacture and distribute personal care products. The FDA’s primary enforcement tool is facility inspections, but they can’t inspect facilities they don’t know exist.
  • The extent of health impacts from harmful ingredients. Companies are not required to report adverse health effects to the FDA or share studies they may have conducted on chronic health effects.
  • The presence or potential health impact of nanomaterials in cosmetics.

Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR)

In the absence of government authority, the safety of personal care product ingredients is evaluated through a voluntary industry program known as the Cosmetic Ingredient Review process. Not only is this program run by the very industry it is intended to oversee, but compliance with CIR recommendations is totally voluntary. The CIR has reviewed less than 20% of the FDA estimated 12,500 chemicals used in cosmetics, and of those the CIR has reviewed, they have found only 9 chemicals unsafe for use in cosmetics. What safety data does exist focuses on acute reactions to products, such as skin rashes or allergic reactions, as opposed to studies that look at chronic health effects from chemicals in personal care products, like cancer, reproductive or nervous system effect that are driven by genetic susceptibility, the timing of exposure, and aggregate exposures over a lifetime.

PCPC’s Consumer Commitment Code

The Personal Care Product Council (PCPC) is the cosmetics industry trade association. The PCPC’s Consumer Commitment Code encourages voluntary reporting of adverse health events. Companies are asked to report “serious and unexpected adverse consumer experiences with cosmetic products.” However, not only is the program voluntary, but FDA must pro-actively file a written request for the information “based on an explicit, legitimate and specific safety concern or question related to the product” and inspect the safety information summary at “a mutually agreed upon location.” This process requires the FDA to spend scarce resources filing formal requests for information that should be submitted to them automatically given the threat to public health presented by adverse health events associated with cosmetic use.


For more information or to get involved, contact us.