For the first time since 1938, the cosmetic industry will have updated rules, governed by the FDA. There is new proposed legislation for the cosmetic industry in the US.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has never had to give approval for a cosmetic or personal care product before it hits the market. Currently, there are no legal requirements for any cosmetic manufacturer to test their products for safety, according to Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA Commissioner.
The cosmetic industry is the least regulated category in the marketplace in the United States. It also includes personal care products like soaps and lotions.
Three years ago, some makeup products sold at Claire’s tested positive for asbestos. This is a brand and company beloved by teenagers and it was found they were applying asbestos to their faces? A known cancer causing substance. The FDA recommended Claire’s recall the products but they had no authority to act beyond that.
After disputing the findings, Claire’s eventually recalled their makeup products that were found to have asbestos.
With the new legislation, unknown or unsafe ingredients in cosmetics may soon be a thing of the past.
Who Oversees Cosmetic Products Now?
In reality, no entity in the US regulates cosmetics and personal care products before they go to market. They don’t need FDA approval, except for colors.
The FDA does inspect cosmetic manufacturing facilities to assure product safety and determine whether cosmetics are adulterated or misbranded. But they haven’t regulated the ingredients.
According to the FDA, cosmetics are required to be safe when used according to label directions, but it’s the manufacturer or distributor’s responsibility to ensure a product is safe for consumers.
Color additives are different. They have to be approved by the FDA before including in a cosmetic product. The FDA also oversees labeling standards.
It seems a little preposterous that the only cosmetic ingredients regulated by the FDA are colors. But it’s been this way since 1938. The current laws and regulations haven’t been updated since then.
It seems we instinctively know we want organic and cleaner ingredients in our cosmetics and personal care products as we see the news of what harmful chemicals are doing to us (and our planet).
What About Organic Ingredients?
In the US, the USDA actually oversees the term ‘organic’, as with foods. It’s actually quite strict about the conditions that qualify an ingredient as organic. The FDA still oversees the labeling, but the USDA oversees the conditions that make an ingredient organic.
For more on this, see my article: What Is Organic Skincare?
Suggested: The Best Natural Makeup Brands You’ll Love
The Proposed Legislation
After Gottlieb made his statement, as shown in the second paragraph of this article, several female legislators, including Sen. Dianne, Feinstein of CA, Sen. Susan Collins of ME, Rep. Jan Schakowsky of IL, and Sen. Patty Murray of WA, introduced bipartisan proposals to update the laws, expand FDA authority to oversee beauty brands, and ban the most harmful chemicals (Ambreen Ali in Fortune Magazine, 2022).
Several states have also enacted their own rules, hoping to increase supply-chain transparency – California, Maryland, Maine, and Colorado.
In June 2022, those proposals were included in the large FDA Safety and Landmark Advancements Act, aka Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act of 2022.
The large piece of legislation includes new rules for prescription drugs and medical devices but the part I’m most interested in is the cosmetic industry proposals in the Act. Since some of the inclusions of the Act need to pass, it’s likely this Act will pass and help give the FDA more oversight into the cosmetic industry and ingredients used.
Some of the requirements that go along with this Act are:
(1) requiring cosmetics companies to register with FDA, comply with good manufacturing practices, and report serious adverse events, among other things, and (2) submitting a product listing for each cosmetic product.
The FDA will have the ability to suspend the registration if the FDA determines that a product has a reasonable probability of causing serious adverse health consequences or death to humans and they believe that other products manufactured by the facility may be similarly affected.
What This Means
This is a huge step in the right direction. Any regulation in the cosmetic and personal care space is long overdue. There actually can be harmful ingredients in personal care and cosmetic products. And testing has shown that some of the worst are products marketed to women of color.
It is possible that we might see the passage of the FDA Safety and Landmark Advancements Act by September 2022. If so, it will take some time for the FDA to get organized with the new rules and their requirements. More money for the FDA to oversee more products will be part of the Act.
It might be a year before we start seeing their work come to fruition. But we’ll still need to stay diligent ourselves in using products we feel we can trust, i.e., organic and natural ingredients. This won’t be an overnight fix.
The products I recommend on Bodyluminate.com I feel are safe and the companies who make them are committed to producing safe and also effective products. A lot of companies in the natural and clean beauty industry won’t be very affected by this new legislation, since they already have good manufacturing processes and safe ingredients.
Let’s hope this legislation passes after many years of bills being introduced for cosmetic ingredients but never passing. There is a good chance this one will pass. Keep your fingers crossed.
I hope you enjoyed reading about this proposed legislation. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them in the Comments section below. Thank you!