Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) today announced that provisions from the Personal Care Products Safety Act, their bipartisan bill to protect consumer health and strengthen the Food and Drug Administration’s authority to ensure the safety of personal care products, are included in the fiscal year 2023 omnibus government funding bill expected to be signed into law later this week.
Senators Feinstein and Collins first introduced the Personal Care Products Safety Act in 2015. Since then, they have gathered broad support from large companies, small businesses, health experts and consumer advocacy groups. Congress has not updated the safety laws governing personal care products since 1938, leading the FDA in 2021 to call on Congress “to modernize the outdated regulatory framework” for personal care products.
“After years of negotiations among Congress, the private sector and consumer-advocacy groups, I’m delighted that provisions from our Personal Care Products Safety Act will finally become law,” Senator Feinstein said. “Americans use personal care products – like shampoo, deodorant, cosmetics and much more – every single day. These products are an inextricable part of our daily lives. Yet the law that governs their safety standards hasn’t been updated in more than 80 years. Passing our bill is a major advance in protecting consumers from dangerous products as FDA’s oversight tools will finally be brought into the 21st century.”
“Americans use a variety of cosmetics and personal care products daily, including lotions, shampoos and makeup, and they should be able to trust that these products are safe to apply to their hair or skin,” said Senator Collins. “By strengthening FDA oversight of the ingredients in personal care products for the first time in more than 80 years, our legislation will help protect the health of consumers, support small businesses, and provide regulatory certainty for manufacturers.”
The FDA and product safety experts have noted concerns about the use and concentration of potentially harmful ingredients in personal care products that haven’t been independently reviewed for health effects. For example, according to the FDA, most hair smoothing and straightening products release formaldehyde gas, a known carcinogen. Formaldehyde exposure can cause short- and long-term health problems.
While some states have enacted safety laws governing personal care products, many others have taken no action, leaving millions of Americans exposed to dangerous chemicals every day while just washing their hair or putting on deodorant. This law puts in place strong safety standards nationwide.
Provisions from the Feinstein-Collins Personal Care Products Safety Act included in the omnibus bill include:
- FDA mandatory recall authority: FDA will now have the authority to recall products likely to cause serious harm when a company refuses to voluntarily cease distribution and recall the product.
- Good manufacturing practices: FDA will issue regulations to outline good manufacturing practices for personal care products.
- New requirements for cosmetic companies: Companies are required to register with FDA, disclose the ingredients they use and attest that they have safety records for their products.
- Adverse health reporting: Companies are required to report serious adverse health events associated with the use of their products.
- Small business flexibility: FDA will provide technical assistance and additional flexibility for smaller companies to comply with law.