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Reps. Markey, Schakowsky Introduce Bill to Protect Consumers from Chemicals in Care Products

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Location: Washington, DC

America's medicine cabinets and diaper bags are filled with products containing chemicals that have gone largely unregulated, exposing American consumers and children to potentially cancer-causing agents and other dangerous chemicals. In response to this regulatory black hole that threatens our health and the environment, today Reps. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) introduced the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act, which closes major loopholes in the federal law that allows companies to use ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products known to damage human health and the environment.

"The last thing you want to worry about first thing in the morning is whether the products that make us and our children clean and comfortable also contain cancer-causing chemicals," said Rep. Ed Markey. "From diaper cream to deodorant, our medicine cabinets are filled with personal care products that may contain harmful ingredients. This bill will help close the gaping holes in federal law that allow companies to use potentially untested and unsafe ingredients in cosmetic and personal care products. Consumers deserve to have confidence that the products they use every day use will not harm them."

"The simple truth is that everyday products that women, men, and children use contain ingredients that can cause cancer as well as reproductive and developmental harm," said Rep. Schakowsky. "Consumers think the Food and Drug Administration is a watchdog preventing harmful ingredients from being in their shampoos, cologne, makeup, deodorants, lotions, and other products, but the truth is, the FDA has little power under current law. This bill will remedy that by giving FDA the authority to create and enforce a safety standard to get harmful toxins out of our products."

The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate cosmetics and other personal care products the same way it does food and drugs to ensure safety. In reality, cosmetics are one of the least regulated consumer products on the market today and existing law has not been updated since 1938. The $50 billion cosmetics industry uses roughly 12,500 unique chemical ingredients in personal care products--the vast majority of which have never been assessed for safety by any publicly accountable body. According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Americans use an average of 10 personal care products each day, resulting in exposure to more than 126 unique chemicals. The Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act would require stricter labeling requirements and gives the FDA the ability to order recalls of dangerous products.

Key provisions in the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2013, which has 14 original co-sponsors, include:

--Cosmetic and Ingredient Testing and Safety: FDA would establish a list of ingredients prohibited from being used in cosmetics. This includes carcinogens and reproductive and developmental toxins.

--Post Market Testing: Requires the Secretary of HHS to conduct annual random sample tests for pathogens or contaminants in cosmetic products.

--Registration of Cosmetic Companies and Registration Fees: Cosmetics companies would be required to register with FDA and pay a registration fee based on annual gross receipts or sales. Small businesses with less than $2 million in revenues from cosmetics would be exempt from registration; businesses with less than $10 million in revenues from cosmetics would be exempt from registration fees.

--Market Restrictions: Provides the FDA with recall authority for products that are misbranded, adulterated, or otherwise fail to meet the safety standard and can request a voluntary recall or order the ceasing of distribution of any such cosmetic product.

--Mandatory Reporting of Adverse Health Effects: Cosmetic manufacturers, packagers, and distributors would have to provide the FDA with reports of adverse health effects associated with the use of a cosmetic.

--Worker Issues: Requires companies that manufacture cosmetics for salon use to provide information on any health hazards linked with those cosmetics.

--States Rights: States may set more stringent standards.


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