Is more cosmetic regulation needed?

PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
The NY Times says yes. I say it won't have any impact on product safety.

What do you think? 


  • I think it won't either. This industry is pretty well regulated. This system has been working for decades and probably, it is not ideal, but the one of the best among other possible systems in the world. It based on scientific and true idea that cosmetic is generally safe unless products become a drug. The strict regulation, licensing, certification etc have not improved the safety, have not made the product better, but limited the free competition, creativity and become the base for excessive bureaucracy and bribes in the countries where such systems exist. Again, I stand against the idea of any "improvements" in this field.
  • chemicalmattchemicalmatt Member, Professional Chemist
    I've said many times to many people here in the U.S.: had the investment banking industry been as competently self-regulated as the personal care products industry has been over the past four decades, there would never have been a crash, a bailout and a recession in 2007. 
  • chemicalmatt, you're reading my mind :) I wanted to add this input with banking system! More restrictions always bring more violations and barely solve the safety issues.
  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    Less is needed. Compared with the whole of the rest of the world, the US system panders to huge corporates. 
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    An example from the article in the NYT:
     All told, European officials have restricted or banned more than 1,300 chemicals and groups of chemicals, experts say; the F.D.A. has prohibited 11 ingredients. That shocking discrepancy makes clear how far behind the United States is in this area. It also shows that sensible regulations will not cripple companies that make cosmetics, since many of their products are already covered by European law.
    From this I propose that the FDA ingedient regulations are stupidly lax; yet at the same time the FDA (to quote one example) doesn't accept that there are many alternatives to salicylic acid for treating acne. We market a treatment that our customers tell us is effective; but in the USA I would not be able to label it as an acne treatment.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • Belassi, However, FDA is on the right track in this, since any product that has been claimed as "anti acne" is a drug, medicine. The FDA does its job protecting people from wrong products that have no approvements as anti acne treatment. We have also should remember from the medical point of view, that very often what people call "acne" is not real acne, but just a symptom of multiple other diseases, sometimes very dangerous ones like AIDS. People without medical or special education quite often misused terms plus tend to be victims of fear mongering. This is the area where FDA's restrictions are very important and protective even when someone doesn't have the full understanding.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    The 1300 ingredient restriction doesn't mean that EU products are more safe. Uranium is not banned from cosmetics but putting it on a list of banned ingredients won't do anything to improve cosmetic product safety.

    You have to look at what those 1300 ingredients are.  The vast majority wouldn't be used in cosmetics anyway.
  • In EU:
    A large number of banned chemicals are simply pharmaceutical actives. There's also chemicals that belong to the petrochemical industry. And a few others...
    Was it really necessary to specifically ban methotrexate from cosmetics?
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    any regulation is useless unless it's effectively enforced

    for instance, I've been quite shocked to learn that mouldy/bacteria-blighted products, from major branders no less, are sold as often as they are in the US, as products in such a state over here would be quarantined and barred from sale by Trading Standards, who would then advise the brander to recall the product, with a high likelihood of criminal prosecution if they fail to do so

    having to recall products in this way would be a complete disaster, particularly for a major brander, so reputable manufacturers take extra care to ensure their products are sterile at the point of sale

    the regulations over here are less stringent than they are in the US, but in practise, the consequences of failing to meet them are much more severe

    @BartJ @perry and if you only count the ones that have been banned based on the advice of scientific committees to the European Parliament, you're talking about several dozen, probably not more than 100

    an awful lot of the materials on Annex II are things you wouldn't put in cosmetics anyway (arsenic, asbestos, hormones, etc.), including illegal drugs (e.g. barbituratesLSD)
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
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