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NYT Report Finds Cosmetics Industry's Lax Regulations Hurts Consumers

Unlike the pharmaceutical industry, the personal-care industry is essentially self-regulated. In fact, the federal government has not updated the laws regulating the personal care industry since 1938 when it was first enacted. In addition, the FDA does not require safety-testing on products before they hit the market and limits its oversight to adequately monitor products thereafter.

Over the years, chemicals linked to reproductive and developmental health issues found in nail polish, hair and skin products have demonstrated the need for new cosmetic regulations. The recent headline-grabbing reports about the discovery and cover-up of asbestos-tainted talc represents yet another demand for full transparency and disclosure of toxic ingredients in products.

Although House and Senate members have introduced several bills over the years, corporate lobbying efforts and glaring conflicts of interests in industry trade groups have contributed to the current stalemate. Industry groups continue to balk at the idea of adding warning labels to talc-based products and have “pressured governmental agencies to refrain from listing [talc] as a carcinogen.”

The New York Times’ Editorial Board recommends passage of a federal bill to “enable the FDA to commission independent reviews of cosmetic ingredients and recall tainted products and would require cosmetics companies to register with the agency and report adverse events.”

The reckless approach to safety exercised by companies such as Johnson & Johnson continues to breed consumer anxiety. We all deserve to know what’s in our products so we can make informed decisions about whether to use them. Congress needs to act and pass a mighty federal bill demanding greater oversight to the existing unrestrained cosmetics industry.

Read the full NYT report here.

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