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Capitol Health Call
November 8, 2016

Regulating Personal Care Products

JAMA. 2016;316(18):1859. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.15973

In 1938, US lawmakers, following 107 deaths from contaminated sulfa drugs, passed the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. That law empowered the FDA to tightly regulate food and pharmaceuticals but paid scant attention to cosmetics.

The bipartisan Personal Care Products Safety Act currently inching its way through Congress would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and help rectify the failure of that law to grant the FDA serious oversight of cosmetic products. The bill, proposed in 2015 by Sen Dianne Feinstein (D, California), would require the FDA to review the safety of at least 5 ingredients in personal care products each year. The first 5 would be lead acetate, a hair dye additive; formaldehyde, a known carcinogen used in hair straightening; and 3 endocrine disruptors used in shampoo, conditioners, bubble bath, and deodorant. Companies would be required to report adverse events within 15 days to the FDA, which would also have mandatory recall authority.

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