There are already certain concerns we have about quality when purchasing personal care products, but there are also several safety concerns pertaining to the manufacturing and packaging of these products.

Personal care products may be referred to as “cosmetics” by law, but they consist of much more than fragrance and makeup products. Cosmetics can refer to everything from body wash and shampoo to toothpaste and skin lotions. While millions of consumers use personal care products on a daily basis, there are certain safety measures that they often lack that put consumers at risk.

Less Tracking Regulation

Unlike personal hygiene products, the FDA doesn’t have any safety testing requirements for the ingredients used to make personal care products. In fact, the federal law in place to keep these products safe has remained relatively unchanged since its implementation in 1938.

Cosmetic companies don’t even need to register with the FDA, implement good manufacturing practices, submit any ingredient statements, make safety records accessible, or report any adverse events such as instances of hospitalization. The FDA is also unable to quickly suspend all production or initiate a mandatory recall of contaminated products if a company doesn’t engage in a voluntary recall.

Conversely, manufacturers of prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, medical devices, and food must adhere to FDA regulations and requirements.

Packaging That Isn’t Tamper-Proof

Another problem with personal care products is that there aren’t any sufficient tamper-resistance measures in packaging. This could leave products vulnerable to contamination and present a hazard for consumers.

Most other consumer products are required to have tamper-proof packaging to prevent product theft or contamination, including childproof caps, proper sealing, and other measures.

The Personal Care Products Safety Act

In an effort to make personal care products safer for the general public and modernize FDA regulations, legislators have introduced a bipartisan bill, the Personal Care Products Safety Act. This act would require companies to make sure all their products are safe prior to marketing them. It would also supply the FDA with the tools needed to keep the public safe.

Introduced by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine; Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif; and Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., the bill proposes certain changes to give the FDA authority to oversee various aspects of personal care product safety, which include:

  • On an annual basis, the FDA would perform a safety review for five different contaminants and ingredients, including chemicals that release formaldehyde, along with long-chained paraben, diazolidinyl urea, diethyl phthalate, and quaternium-15.
  • Companies will need to register their facilities.
  • Companies will need to disclose all ingredients they use to the FDA.
  • The FDA could inspect records and factories.
  • Companies will be required to report any serious adverse events to the agency within 15 days, including hospitalization, disfigurement, or death. Health effects that may result in hospitalization without early intervention would also need to be reported.
  • The FDA may initiate mandatory recalls of products presenting a danger to the public.
  • The FDA may force companies to implement specific warnings and labels for products containing ingredients that are unsuitable for certain individuals.

With these changes made to FDA authority, cosmetics manufacturers would need to comply with FDA regulations like many other industries. To further prevent contamination or improper use and make sure that products meet FDA standards, tamper-proof packaging would also be more crucial.

Improving Safety for Personal Care Products

With the help of the new act, the FDA would be able to ensure that companies adhere to safety standards that are already in place for myriad products. As a result, consumers would also be more comfortable in knowing that their products are consistently safe for consumption, while companies will be encouraged to develop solutions that maintain quality and minimize the potential for faulty or dangerous products.