Tell Congress It's Time to Fix Our Broken Cosmetics Laws
California’s Department of Toxic Substances has revealed that a variety of nail polishes contain high levels of hazardous chemicals despite product labels claiming otherwise. These chemicals, dibutyl phthalate and toluene, have been linked to birth defects, asthma and other chronic health conditions.
Labels shouldn’t lie and whether you’re a nail salon worker or taking your daughter out for a mani-pedi, you should be able to trust that the products you’re using are safe.
This is yet another example of industry self-regulation gone wrong—tell Congress it’s time to fix our broken cosmetics laws now! Write to Rep. Fred Upton, Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Joe Pitts, Chair of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, and ask them to create the strongest, most consumer-focused and health protective cosmetics legislation possible.
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Representative Fred Upton
Representative Joe Pitts
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SUBJECT: It's time to fix our broken cosmetics laws
Dear Chairmen Upton and Pitts,
A recent study by the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Department of Toxic Substances Control found that many popular nail products contain high levels of hazardous chemicals despite their labels claiming otherwise. These chemicals, dibutyl phthalate and toluene, have been linked to birth defects, asthma and other chronic health conditions.
The health hazards of toxic chemicals in cosmetics have never been more obvious. This study follows several other recent examples (mercury in face cream, formaldehyde in hair products, lead in lipstick) illustrating that our cosmetics laws are due for a make-over. Some of these chemicals don't even appear on product labels. I hope that with your leadership, we'll change that!
I understand the Energy and Commerce Committee is considering including a cosmetics title to address how the FDA regulates cosmetics in the reauthorization of the medical device and prescription drug user fee acts. Given your important committee leadership, I am writing to express my deep concern about the shortcomings of current federal cosmetics regulation and ask you to ensure that any legislation moving forward includes protections for consumer and worker health.
Major loopholes in U.S. federal law make cosmetics among the least regulated consumer products on the market today; in fact, the vast majority of the approximately 12,500 chemicals used by the $50 billion beauty industry have never been assessed for safety.
I'm concerned that rates of cancer, reproductive and developmental problems are on the rise, and toxic chemicals in consumer goods like cosmetics might be impacting my health. It is outrageous that we are being exposed to unsafe chemicals in products we use on our bodies everyday – it's time to clean up the cosmetics industry and make these products safer for everyone!
Please create the strongest, most consumer-focused and health-protective legislation possible that:
• Phases out ingredients linked to cancer, birth defects and developmental harm from cosmetics.
• Creates a uniform health-based FDA safety standard that protects babies, children, pregnant women, workers and other vulnerable populations.
• Closes labeling loopholes by requiring full ingredient disclosure, including fragrance chemicals and ingredients in salon products so consumers and workers can make informed decisions about the products they buy.
• Gives the FDA mandatory recall authority so it can get hazardous products like Brazilian Blowout off the shelves.
• Protects States’ rights to set more stringent standards that address unique local needs.
I look forward to hearing back from you on this critically important public health and consumer health issue.
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