Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010
The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 was introduced on July 20th, 2010 in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Edward Markey (D-MA). It was the first attempt in over 30 years to reform how cosmetics are regulated. It was the first attempt in over 30 years to reform how cosmetics are regulated.
The intent of the bill is to provide a precautionary framework for protecting consumers from exposure to hazardous chemicals. The effort to reform cosmetics regulations intensified after a series of reports by a coalition of environmental health advocates, including Campaign for Safe Cosmetics revealed contaminants and other toxic chemicals in personal care products. Examples included lead in lipstick, formaldehyde in popular baby shampoos, and other chemical exposures.
The legislation was introduced in the same week as the Toxic Chemicals Safety Act of 2010, which reforms the Toxic Substance & Control Act of 1976. Both bills require that corporations making toxic chemicals or who manufacture products with toxic chemicals report the existence of the chemicals in the products, and data about their hazards. Both bills are the result of an environmental health movement that is responding to the increasing scientific studies linking rising rates of illnesses to chemical exposures. The Safe Cosmetics Act addresses the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s governance over regulations of personal care products, while the Toxic Chemicals Safety Act focuses on Environmental Protection Agency regulatory authority .
Key Provisions in the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010
- Cosmetic and Ingredient Testing and Safety: FDA would establish a list of ingredients prohibited from being used in cosmetics.
- Requires manufacturers to conduct safety assessments and submit information to the FDA.
- Ingredient Labels on Cosmetics: The label on each package of cosmetics would be required to list the name of each ingredient, including the components of fragrance.
- Post Market Testing: Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct annual random sample tests for pathogens or contaminants in cosmetic products.
- Market Restrictions: For products that fail to meet the safety standard, HR 5789 would provide the FDA with recall authority.
- Cosmetics and Ingredient Statements: Companies would have to submit ingredient statements for every product they manufacture to the FDA.
- Mandatory Reporting of Adverse Health Effects: Cosmetic Manufacturers, packagers, and distributors would have to submit a report to the FDA on any serious adverse events associated with the use of a cosmetic.
- Worker Issues: Requires companies that distribute cosmetics for salon use to provide information on health hazards listed by authoritative bodies or found in scientific studies.
- States Rights: States may set more stringent standards.
- Registration of Cosmetic Companies and Registration Fees: Cosmetics companies would be required to register with FDA and pay registration fees.
Some of the larger corporations making personal care products (Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Estee Lauder and others), along with their trade group, the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC), appear to have been employing lobbyists and communications professionals to create resistance to the regulatory reform. Individuals such as M.C. “Elvis” Oxley, son of former Ohio Republican Congressman Mike Oxley, and firms such as Duberstein Group, and Policy Directions Inc., represent the PCPC and their member corporations in lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill.
Lisa Powers, the vice-president of communications for the PCPC, was formerly with the Mercury Group, a firm that, like other firms working with the petro-chemical industry, has employed strategies that include creating web pages that appear to be made by grass roots groups. They then do “coalition building” on behalf of the trade association and do outreach to targets that they can then direct to message on their behalf.
Personal Care Truth is a website whose owners have withheld their identities, according to Internet identifier WhoIs. Lisa Powers is associated with another website, BotoxReviews.net, that has its ownership hidden on the WhoIs Internet site reporting group. Personal Care Truth is aimed at women who own small to mid-sized beauty product companies.
The text posted on Personal Care Truth says it is owned by two women who also each own their own beauty product companies. Kristin Fraser Cotte, says she is a founder of The Grapeseed Company, a corporation that makes “botanical beauty from wine.” Lisa M. Rodgers says she is CEO and Fonder of Cactus & Ivy, a company that also makes beauty and bath products. Rodgers says she started the company after being at a Fortune 500 firm. She has alternately said she began her company in 2000 and also reports having started it in 2006. Both women appear to have come together to do Personal Care Truth in 2009. They are both members of the Indie Beauty Network, run by Donna Marie Coles who is an outspoken critic of regulatory reform and who is either currently involved with or was in the past connected with the PCPC.
Both Cotte and Rodgers message about having natural products, but have come out messaging strongly with almost identical anti-regulatory rhetoric of the major chemical companies, which includes information that environmental health advocates say is misleading.
Examples of untrue statements made by Personal Care Truth about the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 include:
FDA already stringently regulates cosmetics: The FDA currently has very little authority to regulate the cosmetics industry; FDA cannot require companies to conduct safety assessments of cosmetics or the ingredients in them, cannot require companies to assess health impacts to highly exposed populations such as salon workers, and the agency cannot even require recalls of cosmetics. FDA has far less authority over cosmetics than over food or pharmaceuticals.
Low doses of toxic chemicals aren’t a problem: Modern science demonstrates that low dose exposures from chemicals can cause great effects. Birth control bills are an example of this – tiny amounts of endocrine disrupting chemicals can prevent pregnancy. Cosmetics commonly contain chemicals that have the potential to disrupt hormones, including parabens, phthalates, triclosan and musks.
Natural ingredients will be banned:The Safe Cosmetics Act would require FDA to come up with a list of prohibited ingredients that are known or highly suspected to cause cancer or reproductive harm according to the best available science.
“This bill will put out of business THOUSANDS of small, local, independent cosmetic manufacturers because they just can’t afford to spend the enormous amounts of money to test their products.”: The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 would not require the testing of cosmetic products. It requires companies to submit existing safety data to FDA and sets up a system for FDA to make determinations about restricted chemicals and labeling protocols.
Personal Care Truth deploys “experts” who in reality are involved in the manufacturing, distribution of products with toxic chemicals, and have a vested interest in preventing restrictions on the harmful chemicals in their products.
Doug Schoon worked previously with nail product manufacturers and Shell oil. Schoon was co-chair of the The Nail Manufacturers Council (NMC), a subset of the Professional Beauty Association's manufacturer section, is made up of companies that produce nail care products. Executives involved with this group include individuals from Procter & Gamble and OPI. He is a member of the Personal Care Products Council, owns several patents, and is a paid witness for court cases. Schoon discounted the European Union’s restrictions on dibutyl phthalates, saying: "This is all just a political snafu that this poor ingredient has been caught in," said Mr. Schoon. "This has turned into a legal and regulatory fiasco that has nothing to do with ingredient safety." pointing out that “most people don’t know or care about the chemical.”
Amanda Foxon-Hill, owns the Selling Science site, where she lists her customers as chemical manufacturers and chemical distributions companies and industry associations. She has also dispensed advice to Islamic media venues on what makes cosmetics ingredients “halal,” or “holy” according to Islamic law.
Paula Begoun is author of a series of books called “Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me.” She is often portrayed as independent expert on cosmetic ingredients but sells products that contain ingredients of concern such as parabens. In a recent post on her blog, Begoun wrote, “My products are sold easily in Europe, but the [Safe Cosmetics Act] here in the U.S. would put my products in question and, regardless of brand, would leave consumers without many of the tried-and-true products essential for keeping skin issues like acne in check, not to mention helping your skin look younger, longer.” In truth, not all Begoun’s products could be sold in Europe. Paula’s Choice Remarkable Skin Lightening Gel contains hydroquinone, a chemical that is banned in Europe and that U.S. FDA has raised concerns about.
The Personal Care Truth women credit the owner of the Indie Beauty Network, Donna Marie Coles Johnson, as being instrumental in setting up their website. A lawyer by training, Coles Johnson once worked for a firm working on asbestos defense cases. She has in the past been a member of the Personal Care Products Council, and claims she no longer is a member, although she appears to be carrying out their messaging to the letter. Coles Johnson is also linked to anti-regulatory groups on Facebook, including “Safe Personal Care Products the Right Way,” with pages for New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Colorado and California. These groups do not show who the central company or organization is that created them.
Also linked to the Facebook groups with unidentified creators and a frequent commentator on Personal Care Truth website is Dene Godfrey, a sales manager with S. Black, a chemical sales company in the United Kingdom. S. Black sells chemicals that may be restricted under the new legislation. We can assume that S. Black sells parabens, as evidenced by Godfrey spending a large amount of time on various websites defending the chemical. Godfrey is constantly reassuring the small business owners that the toxic ingredients they buy from him are safe, and he has encouraged them to fight against environmental health efforts for chemical reform.
Godfrey is one of the individuals attacking the new science demonstrating health effects from exposure to the chemicals he sells. These attacks on the new science have been a key strategy deployed by some of the major corporations in the chemical industry, along with their aligned downstream user trade associations. The National Association of Manufacturers includes toxic chemical producers/users Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical, and Procter & Gamble. The Grocery Manufacturers Association includes Dial Corporation, Procter & Gamble and others using toxic chemicals in production of their personal care products.
Both Godfrey and Coles Johnson have become leading figures to small business owners, and conduct constant outreach for tips on various aspects of the cosmetics production business. Lisa Powers blogs on Biz-Central, started by Pat Cleary of the National Association of Manufacturers (Exxon, Dow, Etc); the site also hosts bloggers from the American Petroleum Institute, Grocery Manufacturer’s Association, Personal Care Products Council and other groups aligned to fight chemical regulation reforms.
The former head of the Personal Care Products Council, Pamela Bailey, is now president of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which shares a few of the same corporations.
Personal Care Truth ran an article attacking Environmental Working Group, a non-profit working on environmental health issues. The reporter was BA Carrington, who formerly went “undercover" to report on the religious right, and was hired at that time by the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, “Affirming sexual freedom as a fundamental human right.” For Personal Care Truth, Carrington appears to have been hired by Empowerment Enterprises, LTD. While it is unclear if they are all the same group, groups with this name appear to have locations in Italy, Texas, and Colorado. The owner, Andrea Bianchi, is listed on Linked In as being based in Milan, Italy. He previously worked for Chiquita and Dole in Italy. He appears to have two websites. The website apparently aimed at DC clients has very little information on it, such as even the names of Andrea or other principles in the firm. But he has another website that says they are based in the Seattle area describing the as “success facilitators.” Their testimonials include participants in a Vatican workshop.
Other “principals” in the Empowerment Enterprises, LTD. U.S. appear to include Ericks Consultants, a lobbying firm based in Florida. Angelina M. Spencer is listed as Empowerment Enterprises, LTD, “owner,” is a registered lobbyist, has an address each in Florida and Washington, DC. Spencer is author of “The Erotic Economy,”and is also president of the Association of Club Executives (ACE), a trade group for adult entertainment clubs. She has advocated against restrictions on strip clubs. She appears to have been an Ohio strip club owner at one time. The Empowerment Enterprises phone number is the same as the ACE. Empowerment Enterprises, Ltd., the site apparently aimed at Washington, DC clients, offers these services:
Federal & State Lobbying
Legislative Bill Tracking & Alerts
Legislative Analysis and Trend Tracking
Federal & State Legislative Testimony
Issues Management Association Management
Legal Referrals & Research
The truth about Personal Care Truth, by Co-Founder, Lisa M. Rodgers:
Who is Personal Care Truth?:
"Personal Care Truth believes education is the foundation in understanding cosmetic safety. We are lifelong learners committed to delivering information based on current scientific evidence while encouraging open discussion and dialogue. Personal Care Truth is a partnership, solely owned myself and Kristin Fraser-Cotte. We used personal money from our pockets to pay for the site creation, URL, gravity forms, etc. Whatever was required to get PCT up and running, we paid for it by splitting the costs right down the middle.
Personal Care Truth was not and is not financed by big business or a third party. Every decision for PCT is made by us, 2 women in the cosmetic industry. Yes, we have a donation button on our site because there are people who believe in truthful information backed by scientific facts, and want to support what we started on May 17, 2010, and continue to provide. Do we send out annoying emails or newsletters asking for a donation, or impressing upon our readers that a donation is needed to reach our goal? No, we don’t do that.
Personal Care Truth has a total of 9 experts who provide a majority of the content found on our site. PCT provides truthful information about personal care products/cosmetics, based on scientific facts. Our experts also serve to answer questions posed by our readers. None of our experts have ownership in the website, and provide their content and time, free of charge. They believe in the truth, just as Kristin and I do.
Personal Care Truth accepts articles from guest authors if they fall in line with what our site contains. PCT allows articles that highlight the works of The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Environmental Working Group, because we don't find them credible sources for truthful information backed by scientific facts. Kristin and I created PCT because of these organizations. We were tired of the fear, misinformation and hype they were, and continue to spread."
In regards to SCA 2011:
"Personal Care Truth believes the bill holds universal flaws that could impact the entire cosmetics industry, including large and small businesses. While Personal Care Truth is pleased that Congress is taking a proactive approach at looking at the cosmetics industry, there are several concerning issues in the bill, including:
- Label Confusion: The bill shows no exceptions for contaminants that occur in nature and appear in botanicals. The process of labeling all components and contaminants of each ingredient will be nearly impossible. - International Confusion: This bill pertains to US-made cosmetics only, causing a serious divide in the international cosmetics industry. - Aromatherapy: The required labeling information will make it very difficult to recognize the sole essential oils used versus the constituents and contaminants involved. - Authoritative Source: The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel is the authoritative voice on this issue and was not consulted for this bill. - Duplication of Registration: In Section 619 of the bill, the manufacturer and distributor of a cosmetic are required to have a registration number, causing additional layers of unnecessary bureaucracy that will ultimately increase costs for consumers. - Enhanced Business Risks: In Section 620, any person believing that a cosmetic is adulterated or misbranded has the right to turn the company into the Secretary, opening up businesses to frivolous lawsuits for personal gain. - Adverse Health Effects: This term is not appropriately defined in the bill. Small allergic reactions could then be considered adverse health effects, which would be nearly impossible to avoid in every cosmetic user.
“Personal Care Truth opposes the H.R. 2359: Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 because it is unworkable, far reaching, and will do absolutely nothing to make cosmetics safer than they already are,” said Lisa Rodgers, co-founder of Personal Care Truth. “We support safe cosmetics and certainly believe the FDA could use more transparency; however, we should be focusing on improving current legislation instead of completely changing it to serve the goals of non-governmental organizations that have yet to present the science to support their claims.” More can be read on Personal Care Truth's position on H.R. 2359 Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 http://personalcaretruth.com/2011/07/personal-care-truth-responds-to-cosmetics-bill-hr2359-safe-cosmetics-act-of-2011/
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