New Calls for the FDA to Better Regulate the Cosmetics Industry

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I can’t help it. Every time I come across a story in the mainstream media about the need to better regulate the cosmetics industry in the United States, I get a little bit excited. At some point, this has got to mean change is on the way, right? The more people who care about what’s in the products they put on their skin, the more people start to actively avoid ingredients that are already banned in places like Japan, Canada, and Europe … the more likely we’ll all have even more great, safe, effective products to choose from. Right?

Well, I’ve basically been giddy for the past week or so.

First I came across this editorial in the New York Times about the FDA’s lack of regulation when it comes to cosmetics, including a mention of the controversy — and scarily bad experiences — some 20,000 people (including children) have had with Wen Hair Care products. The first two sentences of the story sum it up pretty much perfectly:

You can’t legally buy a drug in the United States that hasn’t undergone rigorous testing, mandated by Congress, to prove that it’s safe and effective. By contrast, that lipstick, shampoo, or deodorant you use every day may have undergone no such testing.

If that doesn’t immediately make the letters WTF come to mind, this blog may not be the place for you (but I hope you’ll keep reading). Because this little nugget of truth also stands out:

All told, European officials have restricted or banned more than 1,300 chemicals and groups of chemicals, experts say; the F.D.A. has prohibited 11 ingredients

And then I heard this: A panel discussion on NPR’s On Point about the battle to regulate cosmetics in the United States, featuring (among others) Stacy Malkan, the founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. I feel the winds of change starting to blow. And I can’t wait.

Did you know the U.S. cosmetics industry is so unregulated? What changes would you like to see? Share in the comments and let’s talk!

Image via the Library of Congress

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