NY Times editorial page today timely highlights the importance of safety procedure in the manufacture of beauty products in the absence of mandatory mechanism forcing manufacturers to observe safety norms.
The cases of skin disorders due to the harsh chemicals in cosmetics are increasing, leading to heightened safety concerns. More than 21,000 complaints of itching, rashes and hair loss, for instance, have been sent to the manufacturer and distributor of Wen Hair Care products. And hair-straightening products that contain formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, have caused allergic reactions, hair loss, rashes, blisters and other problems in salon workers and their customers.
This will change under a Senate bill by Dianne Feinstein, California, and Susan Collins, Maine. It requires FDA to evaluate a minimum of five chemicals in cosmetics every year. The agency could also order companies to recall dangerous products and force them to reveal safety data and reports of adverse health effects from consumers.
The bill has the backing of public interest groups like EWG and the American Cancer Society Action Network, and much of the cosmetics industry (like Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble). But Mary Kay opposes it.
Numerous concerns about the risky ingredients in personal care products have been raised by scientists and consumers. Experts are gravely concerned about the use of chemicals that may not cause immediate problems, but could increase the risk of cancer, reproductive disorders and other ailments.
Herbally Radiant has been promoting awareness about the potential health risks from the chemical ingredients like lead acetate, parabens and synthetic additives. Welcoming this bill, Herbally Radiant would appeal to industry to review and take out all the potentially risky ingredients from their products, and disclose actual ingredients on labels.
Consumers also need to look for the potentially dangerous chemicals in their skin care products, and stay away from doubtful formulations, especially when ingredients are not mentioned on the labels.
EU has done better job by restricting or banning more than 1,300 chemicals and groups of chemicals; FDA has prohibited 11 such ingredients. US regulators need to do a lot more for consumer protection. Promoting natural organic cosmetics with proven record of safety and reliability could also help.