Hair-Raising Ordeal Draws Attention to Lack of Oversight of Cosmetics, Personal Care Products

by Mollie Rosenzweig | November 01, 2016

Last year, consumers linked Wen hair products to sudden and dramatic hair loss. The story generated a flurry of national coverage and spurred increased interest in just how closely the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates our cosmetic products. Indeed, Wen hair products are not alone in causing dangerous side effects and containing disconcerting ingredients: Consumers have raised alarms over formaldehyde in hair straightening products, mercury in skin creams, and an array of toxic chemicals in children's face paint, including lead, cadmium, toluene, formaldehyde, and others. 

Currently, the FDA has shockingly little authority to regulate personal care and cosmetic products, which comes as a surprise to many consumers. In contrast to the rigorous testing pharmaceutical products must undergo before they can be marketed and sold, cosmetics and personal care products need not meet exacting federal standards. The innumerable chemicals in cosmetic products don't need be tested or even disclosed. Companies are not required to report consumer complaints of adverse reactions to the FDA, and even when FDA does become aware of a problem with a product, it has no authority to issue a mandatory recall after a product is linked to consumer harm. Under current law, FDA can encourage a company to issue a voluntary recall, and only then if a product has been mislabeled or contaminated. 

Even before the high-profile Wen episode, the need to address FDA's lack of oversight authority ...

The FDA Doubles Down On Its Plan B Troubles

by Lisa Heinzerling | May 29, 2013
Cross-posted on ACSBlog. A panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York has just taken under consideration the Food and Drug Administration’s motion for a stay of a district court order directing the agency to make levonorgestrel-based emergency contraceptives available to women and girls of any age without a prescription and without other point-of-sale restrictions. In deliberating on this motion, the panel of judges should not, I am sorry to say, take anything the FDA has said in ...

The Human Costs of Pander, Take 2: Obama Budget Shortchanges FDA and Food Safety

by Rena Steinzor | February 01, 2010
As we feared, in an effort to save pitiably small amounts of money in the discretionary (non-military) portion of the budget, President Obama’s FY 2011 budget, announced today, shortchanges very real threats to public health. Case in point: the Food and Drug Administration’s ongoing struggle to improve the safety of the American food supply. (FDA regulates 80 percent of it; USDA regulates the 20 percent that is meat and poultry, and that is, if you’ll pardon, its own kettle of ...

FDA's First Year Under Obama: Miles Ahead, Yet Miles to Go

by James Goodwin | January 22, 2010
This post is the fourth in a series on the new CPR report Obama’s Regulators: A First-Year Report Card. During the Bush Administration, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) simply fell further and further behind in terms of achieving its regulatory mission of protecting people from unsafe drugs, medical devices and food. A series of high profile mistakes made it clear that the American people could no longer lightly assume that the food they were eating and the drugs they ...

FDA Needs More Time for its Report on BPA

by Matt Shudtz | December 01, 2009
Yesterday came and went with no announcement from the FDA on the safety of BPA in food packaging. The agency had created a self-imposed November 30 deadline for releasing a new finding, and in the intervening months, a number of new studies on the health effects of BPA have been released and FDA has brought in an outside expert to head up the review. These developments have understandably slowed the review process. The question before FDA is whether BPA is ...

The Center for Progressive Reform

455 Massachusetts Ave., NW, #150-513
Washington, DC 20001
info@progressivereform.org
202.747.0698

© Center for Progressive Reform, 2015