Due to a new bill, controversial ingredients used in our beauty products may be regulated by the FDA. Allure got the scoop.
The ingredients in your moisturizer or lip gloss aren't regulated by the FDA, but if the Personal Care Products Safety Act passes that's going to change.
"There's been a lot of pressure for more regulation of the cosmetics industry from environmental groups over the years," says Jeannette Graf, a dermatologist in Great Neck, New York. "If this bill passes, the FDA is going to have to determine safe levels of ingredients like quaternium-15, a potential allergen, in products." And the bill is specific, listing five ingredients used in skin care, cosmetics, and hair care that the FDA will have to review first: lead acetate (a pigment), methylene glycol (formaldehyde used in some professional hair straightening treatments), and quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, and propyl paraben (preservatives).
"These are ingredients that have pockets of controversy surrounding them," says cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson of beautystat.com. "Some companies have already been working to replace these ingredients after controversies surrounding them over the past year." In fact, the five ingredients were determined as a result of negotiations with NGOs and the cosmetics industry, with major companies including Procter & Gamble, L'Oréal, Johnson & Johnson, Estée Lauder, Revlon, and Unilever supporting the bill, as well as the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC), which is a trade association that represents the global cosmetic and personal care products industry.
"The most responsible companies already self-regulate, but if the legislation passes, the FDA is going to have to establish a test to decide what's a safe level of an ingredient. It's going to be a lot of work," says Graf. "And as a physician, I'd like to see proof. We should look at ingredients to make sure we're using safe levels, but we shouldn't make people unnecessarily afraid — it goes both ways."
And keep in mind, this isn't exactly happening tomorrow. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D - California) and Susan Collins (R - Maine) introduced the Personal Care Products Safety Act to the Senate Health Committee yesterday, and the bill still has to be submitted to the committee for a hearing to determine if it can move to the Senate. As of press time, the Health Committee didn't have a timeline for reviewing the bill.