January 9, 2023 - Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) have announced that provisions from their Personal Care Products Safety Act were signed into law as part of the fiscal year 2023 government funding bill. Their bipartisan legislation will protect consumer health and strengthen the Food and Drug Administration’s authority to ensure the safety of personal care products and their ingredients.
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)
Senators Collins and Feinstein first introduced the Personal Care Products Safety Act in 2015. Since then, they have gathered a wide swath of support from large companies, small businesses, health experts, and consumer advocacy groups. The last time Congress updated the safety laws governing personal care products was 1938, leading the FDA in 2021 to call on Congress “to modernize the outdated regulatory framework” for personal care products.
“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, this new law will help protect the health of consumers, support small businesses, and provide regulatory certainty for manufacturers.”
The FDA and product safety experts have expressed concerns about the use and concentration of potentially harmful ingredients in personal care products that have not 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 allows FDA to have oversight powers for cosmetics.
Provisions from the Collins-Feinstein 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 the law.
- PFAS in Cosmetics: The FDA is required to assess the use of PFAS in cosmetics products, including any risks associated with such use, and publish the results of this assessment no later than the start of 2026. This provision is based on legislation introduced by Senator Collins, the No PFAS in Cosmetics Act.
Source: Senator Susan Collins