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Collins, Feinstein back bill to regulate personal care products industry

The bill would update an 83-year-old law governing the Food and Drug Administration
Credit: JackF - stock.adobe.com

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, and Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, have teamed up to introduce the "Personal Care Products Safety Act."

The bill would update an 83-year-old law governing the Food and Drug Administration's oversight over these products, which include lotions, shampoos, and makeup. 

According to Collins' office, the bill would help protect consumer health and strengthen the FDA's authority over the safety of personal care products and their ingredients.

“Americans use a variety of cosmetics and personal care products daily, including lotions, shampoos, and makeup, and they should be able to trust that these products are safe to apply to their hair or skin," Collins said in a statement.

“We use personal care products every day, but most Americans don’t know the government lacks authority to ensure the safety of products we put on our bodies and hair,” Feinstein added. “What’s particularly striking is that when the FDA finds an unsafe product, it cannot force a company to stop selling it. Our bipartisan bill will finally bring the FDA into the 21st century by giving it authority to ensure personal care products are safe.”

The FDA has voiced concerns about certain ingredients that were found in personal care products such as formaldehyde.  According to the FDA, most hair smoothing and straightening products release formaldehyde gas, a known carcinogen. 

RELATED: Researchers say considerable amount of cosmetics contain toxic chemicals

Just last week, Collins introduced the "No PFAS in Cosmetics Act" with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

“This important legislation would purge poisonous PFAS chemicals lurking in makeup and cosmetics. Chemicals in cosmetics are currently almost completely unregulated, leaving many consumers and makeup wearers vulnerable to these toxic chemicals from everyday use of lipstick, mascara, and other products,” Blumenthal said.

The Personal Care Products Safety Act would:

  • Require companies to register with FDA, disclose the ingredients they use, and attest that they have safety records for their products.
  • Require companies to report serious adverse events (such as infections that require medical treatment) to FDA within 15 days and an annual summary of all reported adverse health events (including less serious reactions, such as rashes).
  • Direct FDA to issue a ban on products that intentionally contain the harmful chemical PFAS (perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances).
  • Require FDA to issue regulations outlining good manufacturing practices for personal care products.
  • Require FDA to provide technical assistance and additional flexibility for smaller businesses to comply with the law.
  • Require websites selling cosmetics to include full labeling information, including ingredients and warnings.
  • Give FDA the authority to seize counterfeit cosmetic products and seek civil penalties for violations.
  • Allow state product safety laws in effect prior to the date of enactment to remain in effect.
  • Authorize FDA to collect user fees from manufacturers to fund oversight activities, similar to what is done for medications and medical devices.

Collins' office says the legislation has been endorsed by nearly 20 organizations, including Burts' Bees, which originated in Maine.

Read the full text of the bill here: