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Environmental Working Group calls on Congress to Reform Government Oversight of Cosmetics


In a hearing held Tuesday, Scott Faber of the Environmental Working Group testified before the House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy about the lack of government oversight of cosmetics and personal care products.

Last week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a Safety Statement and Recall Alert confirming the presence of asbestos in cosmetic talc products marketed to teens and young girls. The FDA announced in its statement that there are currently no legal requirements for cosmetic manufacturers marketing products to American consumers to test their products for safety, and that the FDA lacks the authority to issue a recall when products are found to contain unsafe ingredients.

A bipartisan-backed bill, the Personal Care Products Safety Act, has been brought before the Senate to try and change this. The PCPSA will, among other things, give the FDA new power to ensure that products are safe and free from dangerous substances like asbestos before putting them on the market.

While governments in Canada and Europe have banned upward of 1,300 ingredients from use in cosmetics, the U.S. has banned only 11, and the laws regulating oversight of cosmetic products, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), has not been updated since it was first enacted in 1938.

Faber’s prepared remarks delivered to the House Oversight and Reform Committee can be found here.