Yesterday Siobhan and I sat in on a press conference call with other journalists, Representatives Jan Schakowsky, Tammy Baldwin and Ed Markey, cancer survivor and activist Fran Drescher (aka the Nanny) and members of the EWG and the Breast Cancer Fund.
On the call, Rep. Schakowsky announced new legislation proposing stricter regulation of personal care products. For those of you who have read the book, you know that the subject of regulation is near and dear to our hearts.
Among other things, the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 would provide more regulatory power to the FDA (including the authority to force recalls), establish a list of prohibited ingredients and require manufacturers to conduct safety assessments and submit that information to the FDA. It would even demand that fragrance ingredients be listed on labels, ammending longstanding trade-secret protection laws. In a statement from Schakowsky:
“Our cosmetics laws are woefully out of date—manufacturers aren’t even required to disclose all their ingredients on labels, leaving Americans unknowingly exposed to harmful mystery ingredients. This bill will finally protect those consumers.”
If you’re new to the site or the subject, you may be surprised that these protective measures aren’t already in place—welcome to the shock we felt when we first discovered it.
Of course the bigger question is: Will this bill pass? We sure hope so, but we’re not going to hold our breath in the short term. We are all too aware of the lobbying power of the Personal Care Products Council, the industry’s trade group. These changes would not be in their best interest—since they would likely require expensive reformulations—and they’re already claiming that the act is not based on “established scientific principles.”
One thing is for sure: This is going to get interesting. For more insight read Bryan Walsh’s great post about it on the TIME blog.