New beauty products sold in the United States are regulated and certified safe for use by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA is the governmental agency with legal authority over development, certification and safety of every new cosmetic product. The cosmetics industry is a billion dollar a year business serving millions of consumers who assume the lipsticks, moisturizers, makeup and other products they use are adequately tested for safety and purity prior to being introduced to the marketplace.
Food and Drug Administration and the Cosmetic Industry
The Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C), passed by Congress in 1938 and administered by the FDA, began the regulation of cosmetics in the United States. Permanent eyelash, eyebrow tint and mascara were the catalyst for the FD&C. In 1933 several women were blinded by these products most notably a product called Lash-Lure. Manufacturers are now required to prove the products they make are safe prior to marketing. Colors in cosmetics are certified by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA can and does inspect cosmetic manufacturing facilities. The FD&C Act of 1938 was amended in 1960 to closely monitor color additives in beauty products. This amendment was prompted by a press-on nail color introduced in 1957 that generated 700 complaints.
OSHA Rules and Regulations and the Cosmetic Industry
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), created in 1970, regulates workplace injury, illness and death. OSHA requires a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) be present and available in some circumstances where beauty products are used and sold. Prepackaged cosmetics in retail stores are not required to keep MSDS documents; however, beauty salons, spas and manufacturing locations where products are used in a work environment are required to keep MSDS documents on every product they use. Long-term care facilities using personal care items such as shampoos, moisturizers and soap are also required under OSHA regulations to keep MSDS documents as well. OSHA is a regulatory agency and has power to inspect any workplace at any time within reasonable limits and to levy fines if those workplaces are not in compliance with OSHA regulations.
United States Department Of Agriculture and the Cosmetics Industry
Marketers of beauty products want the consumer interested in a greener lifestyle. A label that claims a product is "natural" is ambiguous. All chemicals can be reduced to a natural component, so any product may claim to be "natural." Specific United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) criteria regulates products labeled "organic." Labels that claim a product is organic, 100% organic, 95% organic, 70% organic, or "made with organic ingredients" means the product must contain the indicated percentage of USDA certified organic agricultural products and may, with the exception of 70% organic, display the USDA label and the certifying agents' name. A label stating "made with organic products" means 70% of the product must be made from organic agricultural products and the product must list least three organic ingredients on the label. These products may not display a USDA label or certifying agents' name.
The Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program
In 1972 the FDA established a program for cosmetic manufacturers to voluntarily register products, report incidents and file formulas. This agency is the Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program. Since its inception the VCFP has registered more than 32,000 product formulations. The information collected through this program is housed with the FDA. The VCFP's mission is to protect consumers and to help manufacturers make informed marketing decisions.
California Cosmetic Act
Signed into law by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Oct. 7, 2005, the California Safe Cosmetics Act, SB 484, created new and tougher regulations on the manufacture of beauty products in California. SB 484 requires any cosmetic manufactured in the state of California to provide the California Department of Health Services (DHS) with a list of ingredients that contain, in any amount, any substance deemed by the DHS to be carcinogenic or to contribute to reproductive toxicity. California manufacturers face increased costs bringing new products to market and remaining in compliance with the DHS. Manufacturers estimate the cost to be at least $1 million annually to the DHS. New regulations translate into increased costs for consumers.
New beauty products marketed in the United States must have labeling compliant with the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C) and the Fair Packaging and Label Act (FP&L). Beauty products that are also drugs, like hormone products, toothpaste and tanning products, face more extensive labeling regulations. A label is considered to be any written, printed, or graphic material accompanying a product and must be on the outside and the inside of any container or wrapper. The panel display, or part of the packaging displayed most prominently to consumers, must contain the name of the product, identifiers that speak to the use of the product, and the quantity of contents in the package. The place of business of the firm marketing the product along with the phrase "Manufactured by" or "Distributed by" must also appear in order to be compliant with regulatory code.