Bill introduced to regulate cosmetics threatening consumers' health with potentially harmful nanoparticles

Bill introduced to regulate cosmetics threatening consumers’ health with potentially harmful nanoparticles

For Immediate Release

Kelly Trout, 202-222-0722, [email protected]
Ian Illuminato, 250-478-7135, [email protected]

Cosmetics threatening consumers’ health with potentially harmful nanoparticles would be regulated under new bill in Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), joined by Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), acted today to protect consumers from potentially harmful nanoparticles in cosmetics by introducing the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011, H.R. 2359.

The bill contains provisions addressing many of cosmetics’ harmful health impacts, including important provisions related to manufactured nanomaterials, which have been linked to human and environmental health concerns.

This is the first legislative attempt to give the Food and Drug Administration authority over nanomaterials. This bill would require companies to inform the FDA about which nanomaterials they are using and require that they provide the FDA with important details about these ingredients, including information on size and safety. The bill would also require this information to be made publicly available and would give the FDA the power to label cosmetics and personal care products that contain manufactured nanomaterials.

“Nanomaterials have the potential to be toxic to our environment and bodies, yet store shelves are full of products that use these ingredients,” said Ian Illuminato, health and environment campaigner for Friends of the Earth. “The nanomaterial provisions in this bill will guarantee the right of the public and regulators to know how and where companies are using these risky ingredients. Ultimately, we believe that cosmetic products containing nanomaterials should not be sold.”

As a founding member of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Friends of the Earth has worked for the past seven years in this coalition focused on educating the public about serious toxins in cosmetics and personal care products.

“For years, companies have been allowed to experiment on our bodies and the environment with risky products. This bill begins to correct that power imbalance by giving people more choices and regulators more power to ensure that care products are free of harmful ingredients,” added Illuminato.

Furthermore, the bill would give the FDA the authority to ensure that personal care products such as shampoo and cosmetics are free of harmful ingredients. Existing law, which has not been updated since 1938, has loopholes that allow chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, learning disabilities and other illnesses in products we use on our bodies every day.

Major provisions of the legislation:

  • Phase out ingredients linked to cancer, birth defects and developmental harm
  • Create a health-based safety standard that includes protections for children, the elderly, workers and other vulnerable populations
  • Close labeling loopholes by requiring full ingredient disclosure, including the constituent ingredients of fragrance and salon products, on product labels and company websites
  • Give workers access to information about unsafe chemicals in personal care products
  • Require data sharing to avoid duplicative testing and encourage the development of alternatives to animal testing
  • Provide adequate funding to the FDA Office of Cosmetics and Colors so that it has the resources it needs to provide effective oversight of the cosmetics industry
  • Level the playing field so small businesses can compete fairly

For more information:

Also see the media release from Reps. Schakowsky, Markey and Baldwin:


Friends of the Earth is fighting to defend the environment and create a more healthy and just world. Our current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, keeping toxic and risky technologies out of the food we eat and products we use, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.

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