In a recent letter to senior cosmetics-industry officials at the Personal Care  Products Council (PCPC) and Independent Cosmetics Manufacturers and  Distributors, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Deputy Commissioner  Michael Taylor rejected the cosmetic industry’s latest proposal for a regulatory overhaul aimed at improving the safety of beauty and personal care  products and accused the industry of creating an impasse in the current  negotiations to update old legislation. 

Expressing “profound disappointment” in industry proposals that he contends  “would actually reduce FDA’s current ability to take action against dangerous  cosmetics,” Taylor writes that the provisions in the draft industry bill are “[in] consistent with the framework agreement we reached last July” and “abandon  the most important of the agreed-upon safety principles.” 

Among other things, Taylor notes that the industry draft would (i) require Congress to “declare a wide range of potentially harmful chemicals ‘safe’ for use in cosmetics  without a credible scientific basis, shifting the burden to FDA to prove them unsafe through a  lengthy rulemaking”; (ii) require FDA to determine other cosmetic ingredients “safe”“even if we  knew that they posed real and substantial risks to consumers”; (iii) “eliminate FDA’s ability to  verify that cosmetic companies have substantiated the safety of their products”; (iv) “undercut FDA’s ability to enforce quality control rules for the safe manufacturing of  cosmetics”; and (v) eliminate states’ ability to oversee any aspect of the safety of cosmetics.  “Because your proposal meets none of the safety goals on which we had all agreed last year, I have  difficulty seeing a path forward in this process,” he concludes.

Agreeing with FDA, advocacy organization the Environmental Working Group argued that the industry’s  proposal would “deprive” the agency of the power to keep hazardous substances out of personal care  products. “We are deeply disappointed that the cosmetics industry has refused to support reasonable  reforms which would ensure that ingredients used in cosmetics are safe and to provide FDA with the  tools to respond when dangerous ingredients enter the marketplace.”

In response, PCPC President and CEO Lezlee Westine said that FDA misrepresented the industry  proposal and the council “strongly disagrees” with the agency’s allegation that the proposed  legislation would weaken FDA regula- tory oversight of cosmetics. “We urge the Agency to return to  the table so we can continue to work together to build consensus that is necessary to these discussions..”