Statement by Spokeswoman Kathleen Dezio on “The Story of Cosmetics”

“The content in this harsh and unscientific ‘shockumentary – genre’ video bears no relationship to the ‘real’ story of cosmetics.  Our industry employs hundreds of men and women who have devoted their careers to substantiating the safety of cosmetic products. This video is an unfortunate attempt to generate fear about an alleged public health risk from cosmetics that is unwarranted.  It is repugnant to suggest that cosmetic companies would manufacture, and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) would allow them to market, products that are dangerous or contain toxins that cause cancer or any other disease. It is absurd to suggest that the men and women in our industry would market products that could cause harm to themselves and their families.

“Further, the cheap attack in the video on industry philanthropy and the efforts of companies to champion various women’s health-related causes is offensive.  The personal care products industry gives more than $200 million in contributions to charitable causes each year, an amount almost twice that of any other industry in the manufacturing sector.  In fact, through its Look Good…Feel Better program, the industry has helped 700,000 women in the U.S. overcome the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment.

“Cosmetic companies are required by law to substantiate the safety of their products before they are marketed.  Companies take this responsibility for safety substantiation very seriously.

“Safety substantiation of ingredients, either by manufacturers or raw material suppliers, is based on a rigorous scientific safety process that includes studies of closely related substances, utilizing computer modeling to predict potential toxicity, in-vitro testing, and human product safety experiences.  

“Safety is determined on the basis of proven principles of risk assessment.  There are four main components in science-based safety assessment that are well documented by the National Academy of Sciences, the Society of Toxicology and numerous government agencies around the world. Manufacturers consider these components — hazard identification, dose response, exposure assessment and risk characterization — in their safety assessments.  During the safety assessment process, companies also consider exposure from other sources over the course of a person’s lifetime.

“Under the U.S. Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), it is a federal crime to market an unsafe cosmetic product in the United States.  The marketing of an unsafe cosmetic product carries significant consequences. FDA has clear and abundant legal authority to regulate the safety of cosmetic products including authority to:  ban or restrict ingredients for safety reasons, enter and inspect manufacturing facilities, issue warning letters, seize unsafe or misbranded products, prohibit unlawful activities, and prosecute and jail violators.

“To further enhance FDA’s regulatory oversight and take into account the growth of the industry, innovations in R&D, and scientific advancements, last week the Personal Care Products Council announced a groundbreaking initiative that would establish an additional layer of federal oversight and enhance existing regulatory safeguards.

“The ‘real’ story of cosmetics is that of an industry with a proven, lengthy track record of responsibility and safety and a strong commitment to making the lives of consumers better.”