Beauty

Clean Beauty & Cosmetic Safety:
The State of Our Cosmetic Union, 2020

By September 30, 2020 February 25th, 2021 No Comments
Clean-Beauty-Cosmetic-Safety-State-Of-Our-Cosmetic-Union-2020

Every year, Americans and the rest of the world hear an annual message from the President of the United States. The State of the Union.

From bigger budgets to booming economies and rising employment rates, it’s progress, progress, and more progress. 

Total fulfillment of the American dream is evidently just up ahead.

But what of the State of Our Cosmetic Union? The “ubiquitous products” from an $80-billion-dollar industry that “regulates itself” and of which we’re all such avid users?

On behalf of We the Consumers, this is the state of cosmetics à la 2020.

Contents

1. Cosmetic Un-Safety 101
2. Clean Beauty & Cosmetic Safety Law
3. “Fragrance” Means Any One or More of 3,000 Unlisted Ingredients
4. Chemicals in Cosmetics
5. Dirty Cosmetics Affect Fertility
6. Dirty and Dangerous Cosmetics Are Sexist & Racist Cosmetics
7. The FDA’s Limited Abilities In Ensuring and Enforcing Clean Beauty & Cosmetic Safety
8. The Cosmetics Industry Regulates Itself
9. Size & Scope of the Industry
10. The Bright Side: Clean Cosmetics & Natural Beauty Are Booming
THE STATE OF OUR COSMETIC UNION, 2020

Nine

cosmetic ingredients regulated by FDA for safety reasons

49.2B

U.S. cosmetic industry revenue 2019

22B

Projected value of the organic personal care market by 2024

14,000

cosmetic ingredients banned or restricted by other nations

< 1/1000

Percent of cosmetic imports physically inspected by FDA

Fifty-Five

clean and organic cosmetic companies on two years of Inc. 5000 lists


1. Cosmetic Un-Safety 101

Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., and Susan Mayne, Ph.D
“No category of consumer products is subject to less government oversight than cosmetics and other personal care products.” - Scott Faber, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, EWG
“With the lack of federal authority, the cosmetic industry regulates itself.” - Opening Statement, Chairwoman Anna G. Eshoo, Subcommittee on Health, Energy and Commerce Committee, Hearing on “Building Consumer Confidence by Empowering FDA to Improve Cosmetic Safety,” 4 December 2019
“An American child goes to the emergency department every two hours due to harmful exposure to personal care and beauty products.” - Opening Statement, Chairwoman Anna G. Eshoo, Subcommittee on Health, Energy and Commerce Committee, Hearing on “Building Consumer Confidence by Empowering FDA to Improve Cosmetic Safety,” 4 Dec 2019
“Each day, American women use an average of 12 personal care products that contain an average of 168 different chemicals. Men use an average of six personal care products that contain an average of 85 different chemicals.” - Scott Faber, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, EWG

2. Clean Beauty & Cosmetic Safety Law: The FDCA

“The truth is that Congress has not updated FDA’s authority to regulate the multi-billion-dollar cosmetic industry in over 80 years.” - Opening Statement, Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr., Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health, Hearing on “Building Consumer Confidence by Empowering FDA to Improve Cosmetic Safety” December 4, 2019
“Only 2 pages of the 829-page Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act govern cosmetics.” - Scott Faber, EWG
“The regulation of chemicals in nail products is dictated by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938. The part of the law that deals with cosmetics totals just 591 words." - New York Times, 8 May 2015, “Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers”
New York Times, 8 May 2015, “Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers”
“The only thing standing between Americans and a dangerous cosmetic product is an 80-year-old federal law, the 30 employees at the FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors, and strongly worded letters from the FDA.” - Opening Statement, Chairwoman Anna G. Eshoo, Subcommittee on Health, Energy and Commerce Committee, Hearing on “Building Consumer Confidence by Empowering FDA to Improve Cosmetic Safety,” 4 Dec 2019
“Since the early 1950s, efforts by Congress to modernize cosmetics law have been defeated by the cosmetics industry.” - Scott Faber, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs EWG

3. ‘Fragrance’ Means Any One or More of 3,000 Unlisted Ingredients

“We know that “fragrance” can include one or more of about 3,000 chemicals.” - M. Isabelle Chaudry, J.D., Senior Policy Manager, National Women's Health Network
“Regulations are also in place that specify the labeling requirements for cosmetics. These requirements include: … “A list of ingredients, in descending order of predominance; however, the specific ingredients in a fragrance or flavor are not required to be listed.” - Susan Mayne, Ph.D., Director, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
"This group of ingredients contains at least 170 chemicals identified by regulatory authorities as hazardous, (Ref 21) including seven chemicals that have been linked to cancer and 15 that have been banned from use in other nations." - Scott Faber
"Of the personal care and cleaning products analyzed, the fragrance products...had the highest percentage of hazardous chemicals." - Breast Cancer Prevention Partners' Right To Know, Analysis of 140 commonly-used beauty products, Sept 2018

4. Chemicals In Cosmetics

“Of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products, almost 14,000 have been found to be industrial chemicals that are carcinogens, pesticides, and hormone disruptors.” — Harper’s Bazaar, “The Ultimate Guide to Clean Beauty, 22 April 2020
Harper’s Bazaar, The Ultimate Guide to Clean Beauty, 22 April 2020
“Since 2009, 617 cosmetics manufacturers have reported using 93 chemicals that have been linked to cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm in more than 81,000 products.” - Scott Faber, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, Environmental Working Group

“In addition to the risks posed by intentionally added ingredients, cosmetics can be contaminated with heavy metals, including arsenic, cadmium, lead and nickel, or contain banned ingredients like mercury. (Ref 24)” – Scott Faber, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, EWG

”Scientific research continues to reveal multiple connections between exposure to harmful ingredients and significant health issues like cancer, delayed brain development, and disruption of our hormones, which is why Beautycounter created The Never List™ — over 1,800 ingredients we pledge never to formulate with.” – Gregg Renfrew, Founder and CEO, Beautycounter, LLC. Written Statement Before The Subcommittee On Health Of The U.S. House Committee On Energy And Commerce, 4 December 2019

“Under current law, dangerous chemicals used in personal care products are still not banned, restricted, or even required to be studied for their safety.” – M. Isabelle Chaudry, J.D., Senior Policy Manager, National Women’s Health Network

5. Dirty Cosmetics Affect Fertility

“These chemicals contribute to hormonal disruption, female infertility, male infertility and reproductive disruption in adults, developing embryos, and children.” - Gabriela Rosa, MScM, Naturopathic Doctor
Gabriela Rosa, MScM, Naturopathic Doctor
“Research shows that even low exposures to toxic chemicals during critical periods of development, such as pregnancy, can trigger adverse health consequences, including impacts on fertility and pregnancy, cancer, and neurodevelopment.” - M. Isabelle Chaudry, J.D., Senior Policy Manager, National Women's Health Network
“Beauty products can include reproductive and developmental toxicants such as phthalates and heavy metals; however, disclosure requirements are limited and inconsistent.” — Zota AR, Shamasunder B. The environmental injustice of beauty: framing chemical exposures from beauty products as a health disparities concern. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2017 Oct;217(4):418.e1-418.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2017.07.020. Epub 2017 Aug 16. PMID: 28822238; PMCID: PMC5614862

“What is at issue here is the ability to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term as well as the ability to survive through and post menopause without experiencing certain diseases, such as ovarian cancer. Practicing good hygiene and self-care should not create a risk for infertility.” – M. Isabelle Chaudry, J.D., Senior Policy Manager, National Women’s Health Network

6. Dirty and Dangerous Cosmetics Are Sexist & Racist Cosmetics

"In one study by the Environmental Working Group of 1,177 beauty and personal care products marketed to Black women, about one in 12 was ranked highly hazardous.” - M. Isabelle Chaudry, J.D., Senior Policy Manager, National Women's Health Network
“As worries about Baby Powder's safety mounted, J&J focused its pitches on minority, overweight women.”
“Hair products used by Black women and children contained multiple chemicals associated with endocrine disruption and asthma. The prevalence of parabens and DEP is consistent with higher levels of these compounds in biomonitoring samples from Black women compared with White women.”
“The 10 products that ranked the most hazardous in terms of the highest number of chemicals linked to cancer, hormone disruption, developmental or reproductive toxicity and respiratory effects: Just for Me Shampoo: A children’s shampoo, from a hair-relaxing kit marketed to kids of color by Strength of Nature.”
“Compared with white women, women of color have higher levels of beauty product–related environmental chemicals in their bodies, independent of socioeconomic status.”

“We know that, in many cases, companies have actively targeted and marketed talc-based products contaminated with asbestos to Black and Latina women, who remain most affected by a range of reproductive health and comprehensive care barriers and related adverse maternal health risks and outcomes.” – M. Isabelle Chaudry, J.D., Senior Policy Manager, National Women’s Health Network

“Internal documents [from] Johnson & Johnson, one of the country’s largest producers of personal care products containing talc, showed how its marketing efforts focused on the “right place,” and “under developed geographical areas with hot weather, and higher AA [African American] population.” (Ref 15) Johnson & Johnson distributed Baby Powder samples through churches and beauty salons in African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods, ran digital and print promotions with weight-loss and wellness company Weight Watchers, and launched a $300,000 radio advertising campaign in a half-dozen markets aimed at reaching “curvy Southern women 18-49 skewing African American.” – M. Isabelle Chaudry, J.D., Senior Policy Manager, National Women’s Health Network

7. The FDA’s Limited Abilities In Ensuring and Enforcing Clean Beauty & Cosmetic Safety

“The F.D.A. has the equivalent of just six full-time inspectors to monitor three million shipments of cosmetics coming in each year — lipsticks, eyeliners, nail polish, face powders, tattoo inks and other products — an amount that has doubled in the last decade...” - New York Times, 2 Aug 2017, F.D.A Has 6 Inspectors for 3 Million Shipments of Cosmetics
New York Times, 2 Aug 2017, F.D.A Has 6 Inspectors for 3 Million Shipments of Cosmetics Read the letter in full, here.
“The FDA reports that it only physically inspected only a tenth of a percent of the nearly three million imported cosmetics shipments.” - Opening Statement, Chairwoman Anna G. Eshoo, Subcommittee on Health, Energy and Commerce Committee, Hearing on “Building Consumer Confidence by Empowering FDA to Improve Cosmetic Safety,” 4 December 2019
“FDA does not have the power to suspend registration or order recalls when products pose the risk of serious adverse health consequences or death.” - Scott Faber, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, Environmental Working Group
“FDA has regulated only nine ingredients for safety reasons. By contrast, more than 40 nations have taken steps to ban or restrict more than 1,400 chemicals or contaminants in cosmetics and personal care products, including chemicals linked to cancer, reproductive harm, neurological harm or immune system effects.” - Scott Faber, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, Environmental Working Group
"While FDA screens all of these import lines, only 289 were sampled in 2018.” - Memorandum to Subcommittee on Health Members and Staff, 27 November 2019
Cosmetic Lines Imported v. Cosmetic Lines Inspected by FDA

“In fiscal year 2018, there were 2,727,847 lines of cosmetic imports from 177 countries. While FDA screens all of these import lines, only 289 were sampled in 2018.” – Memorandum to Subcommittee on Health Members and Staff, 27 November 2019

“Under the FD&C Act, cosmetic products and ingredients (with the exception of color additives) are not subject to FDA premarket approval or premarket notification to FDA.” – Susan Mayne, Ph.D., Director, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

“In its limited inspections, the FDA has found scary problems, including mold in Chinese eyeshadow and mercury in skin cream.” – Opening Statement, Chairwoman Anna G. Eshoo, Subcommittee on Health, Energy and Commerce Committee, Hearing on “Building Consumer Confidence by Empowering FDA to Improve Cosmetic Safety,” 4 December 2019

“Without FDA regulations defining words like “natural” and “organic,” consumers are left deciphering the complexity of ingredient safety on their own.” – Gregg Renfrew, Founder and CEO, Beautycounter, LLC. Written Statement Before The Subcommittee On Health Of The U.S. House Committee On Energy And Commerce, 4 December 2019

8. The Cosmetics Industry Regulates Itself

“Cosmetic manufacturers are under no legal obligation to report serious adverse events to FDA, however, the agency does receive hundreds to thousands of events directly from consumers each year.” - Memorandum to Subcommittee on Health Members and Staff, 27 November 2019
“The current law does not require cosmetics to be reviewed and approved by FDA prior to being sold to American consumers.” - Susan Mayne, Ph.D., Director, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
“Cosmetics firms are responsible for the safety of their products and ingredients. However, they are not required to provide any safety information to the Agency, even if requested by FDA during an inspection.” - Susan Mayne, Ph.D., Director, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

9. Size & Scope of the Industry

“The revenue of the U.S. cosmetic industry is estimated to amount to about 49.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2019.” - Statista, 5 March 2020
“In recent years, our program for cosmetics is approximately $10 million and has represented about three percent of CFSAN’s total $327 million budget.” - Susan Mayne, Ph.D., Director, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
U.S. Cosmetics Industry Revenue v. FDA Cosmetics Program Budget 2020
“We are aware of estimates that the U.S. cosmetics industry may be larger than $80 billion in terms of annual sales.” - Susan Mayne, Ph.D., Director, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

10. The Bright Side: Clean Cosmetics & Natural Beauty Are Booming

“The clean beauty industry continues its impressive growth, on track to reach a value of nearly $22 billion by the year 2024.” - Gregg Renfrew, Founder and CEO, Beautycounter, LLC. Written Statement Before The Subcommittee On Health Of The U.S. House Committee On Energy And Commerce, 4 December 2019
“We estimate that there are over 350,000 small businesses making and selling handcrafted soap and cosmetics in the United States. A large majority of these businesses are women owned and operated.” - Leigh O'Donnell, Executive Director, The Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild
As consumers become more cosmetic conscious, clean, natural and organic cosmetic manufacturers are becoming Inc. 500 and Inc. 5000 honorees in volume: Arctic Fox, Beauty By Earth, SB SoapBox SoapBox Soaps, EO, PLO

As consumers become more cosmetic conscious, clean, natural and organic cosmetic manufacturers are becoming Inc. 500 and Inc. 5000 honorees in volume, a handful of whom from recent years include—

  • No. 437. Soapbox | Sells a high quality soap bar that is made with natural, safe ingredients. For each bar bought through the company’s website, one is donated to people in need in the United States and around the world.
  • No. 809 Beauty by Earth | Formulates and sells organic and natural skincare products.
  • No. 1376. Boinca, Inc. / Arctic Fox | Sells trendsetting vegan, semi-permanent hair color that infuses free expression with long-lasting, vivid hues. Uses a color formula made in Southern California with non-GMO, plant-based proteins, zero hash chemicals and absolutely no animal testing.
  • No. 2033. Primal Life Organics | Makes skincare products that are vegan and gluten-free and do not contain synthetic fragrances or chemical preservatives.
  • No. 4,566. EO Products | Creates all-natural, non-GMO, gluten-free, cruelty-free personal care products.
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