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Why The Proposed Safe Cosmetic Act of 2010 Won’t Work

The proposed “Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010” (SCA 2010) won’t work. Yep, really, it will not work even though the intent, consumer protection, is a great goal.

It won’t work because laws all depend on each other. The SCA 2010 has at it’s center this requirement:
… a manufacturer of an ingredient or a cosmetic… “shall provide to the Secretary, through a statement under paragraph (3), all information required to determine if an ingredient or cosmetic meets the safety standard.”

This proposed law assumes that the FDA can make informed choices based on this mandate. Herein lies the rub: chemicals (the ingredients used to make most anything that is not legally defined as “food”) are regulated by the EPA and the the EPA does not have the legal authority to require COMPLETE safety data for all chemicals. So – if you make chemicals or cosmetics, you only have to give the FDA the (excuse my language) half-axxxd safety info you have because that is all you can get under law. Then the FDA is supposed make an informed decision based on half-axxxd information. Then we are all supposed to pay for it because the SCA 2010 will add a significant department to FDA that does not now exist. They will need a large number of high salaried scientist and they will need to run tests and they will need to manage the registration of thousands of companies and ALL of their manufacturing information – and that ain’t cheap! Further more, the financial burden will land on the cosmetics industry (and then on consumers) and the chemical companies get to skip along the same old path with no accountability.

It is not all bad news, there is also a proposed law that could give the EPA the power they need to hold chemical manufacturers accountable. This is a reform of TSCA – the Toxic Substance Control Act from the 1970s. We, as a country, desperately need to reform this Act. Most people have not heard of this. (Consider yourself informed, write a letter to your congress person today).

So – why has Ken Cook, the President of the Environmental Working Group, who stood up in front of the US Congress and supported the TSCA Reform not mentioned this via the rather significant press ability that the EWG has? Why have they put all of their press resources into backing a bill that can’t work while not mentioning to anyone that we might need to pay attention to the real problem; the chemicals that are manufactured and sold with less than complete accountability in this country? And why just cosmetics? Why not focus on ALL of the chemicals that seem to do harm?

We all need better consumer goods protection and it strikes me odd that the EWG is not making a really big fuss about TSCA and pushing Americans to support this very important bill that will protect us across all consumer good. I guess they think the cosmetic industry is an easier target and that they will get more contributions in support of cosmetic reform than they would if they tried to explain Reform of TSCA?

Mr. Cook – get real. If you want to reform how cosmetics are made you have to go back to the root problem, the chemicals that are used to make those products. The rest of us should support TSCA Reform, then cosmetics, drugs, carpeting, clothing, food, and toys will get cleaned up by themselves.

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