Today marks 80 years (80 years!) since the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act was passed. It was 1938 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed this act – a mere 1.5 pages of laws that largely govern the personal care industry today.
To put that into perspective, since then:
- 1965: Congress started requiring all cigarette packages distributed in the U.S. to carry a health warning. Since 1970, this warning has been made in the name of the Surgeon General.
- 1984: New York passed the United States’ first seat belt law.
- June 2015: The Personal Care Products Safety Act was introduced to ensure better safety standards across the industry in the U.S.
- September 2016: The first hearing on cosmetics safety since 1974
- May 2017: Re-introduction of the Personal Care Safety Act
That brings us to today, where ingredients and transparency in our products remain highly unregulated. And we’re not just talking about cosmetics – this includes makeup, yes, but it’s also our soaps, our shampoos and conditioners, our shaving creams, deodorants, lotions, and all of the products we use on our children.
It’s why I joined the movement with Beautycounter. As a consultant and a consumer, I want to do what I can to get safer products into the hands of everyone. The company has been at the forefront of change since it was founded in 2013, and since then has made regular visits to DC to lobby for better laws and hold multiple Congressional meetings. They create products with a purpose and a solution to the scary situation we find ourselves in.
We deserve to know what’s in all those bottle and jars – after all, the average American woman uses 12 different products a day (and I’m pretty sure I use more). 80% of the the ingredients used have never been tested for safety. That is unacceptable.
I’m not into being a fear monger, and I don’t believe anyone is “out to get us.” But I do know that the U.S. cosmetics industry is valued at more than $62 billion. There are businesses to run. We’ve been looking the other way because we just assume that the industry has our best interest at heart, or that there are laws in place forcing them to.
And there are a few. The U.S. has banned or partially restricted about 30 ingredients from personal care products. Thank goodness, right? And it is good. But when you learn that the European Union has banned or restricted over 1,400 ingredients – good isn’t quite good enough.
We all deserve better, and that starts with asking for what we deserve. Today isn’t a great anniversary, but it is a fantastic opportunity to contact Congress. Ask them to support new, stronger laws:
- Text your ask with BETTERBEAUTY to 52886
- Send an email to Congress demanding action
If you’re as concerned about this as I am, these are super simple ways to take action. For more ideas, or if you’d like to learn more about what’s going on with the products you’re using, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You deserve better.