Personal Care Products Council Statement on Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ “Market Shift” Report: Industry Safety Initiatives Have Produced Tangible Results

“While we applaud meaningful efforts to promote greater safety of personal care products and cosmetics, there is little if any substance to today’s report issued by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC) (“Market Shift: The Story of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics and the Growth in Demand for Safe Cosmetics.”)

“First, the report is based on numerous false assumptions. Specifically, it implies that the health and safety of American consumers is at risk from personal care products and cosmetics and that products sold in Europe are safer than those sold in the U.S. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  • Our industry has the best product safety record of any sector regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA);
  • There is no substantiated health risk from the products our member companies market to consumers;
  • We follow rigorous safety standards and by law cannot market unsafe products;
  • There is very little difference between the vast majority of personal care products and cosmetics sold in the United States and those sold in Europe.   Although the EU Cosmetics Directive does include a list of substances banned from use in cosmetics in Europe, the vast majority of ingredients on the list have never been used in cosmetics in the U.S. (for example, asbestos and jet aircraft fuel) or haven’t been used in many years.

“Second, the report ignores aggressive, comprehensive and effective industry safety initiatives.  For more than a hundred years, our industry has been committed to making safe, quality products and improving existing safety standards because consumers deserve multiple layers of protection and transparency.

In 2007 we established the “Consumer Commitment Code.” This effort reflects existing safety practices companies have followed for decades and adds new practices.  A number of the elements of the Code go beyond the requirements of the law. They highlight the proactive and

responsible approach to product safety supported by cosmetic companies. (For more information on the Code, visit:

  • Our Consumer Commitment Code, which took effect in 2007, has been signed by companies that manufacture and/or sell more than 90 percent of the U.S. sales volume of cosmetics and personal care products.  As a result, the Code has shown important, tangible results, including:
    • A continuous trend of increased reporting by cosmetic companies to FDA’s Voluntary Cosmetic Reporting Program (VCRP), which is one of the key provisions of the Code but was not a provision of the CSC’s Compact.
    • Since the Code was adopted, the number of establishments registered with the VCRP has increased by more than 40 percent.
    • Similarly, since 2007, the number of formulations registered in FDA’s VCRP has increased by more than 200 percent;
  • We have promoted use of  this streamlined and updated VCRP database to provide a more accurate picture of products and ingredients on the market and better enable FDA to reach manufacturers and notify the public should the agency have concerns about a particular product or ingredient;
  • We have worked with Congress for more than two decades to increase funding to support FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors’ regulatory oversight of our industry and to strengthen and modernize this oversight;
  • Several months ago, the Council and its members joined with several other industries to initiate the Safe Cosmetics Alliance to support science-based legislative and regulatory policies that enhance consumer and product safety standards. This new alliance is comprised of leading beauty and personal care product and services industry trade organizations representing manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, retail owners, salon/spa owners, and licensed beauty professionals that represent small-, medium-, and large-sized businesses;
  • We created, a consumer information Web site that offers user-friendly access to factual, scientifically-based information on products and ingredients.  The site also includes information on how to read product labels, how cosmetics and personal care products are regulated in the U.S. and Europe, and the extensive processes companies go through to assess the safety and efficacy of their products.  The site also includes videos, a search engine, FAQs, a glossary and links to other authoritative bodies on cosmetic safety issues.

As our industry continues to innovate and to enhance its safety practices, we are confident that it will continue to grow by providing consumers with a wide range of safe, quality products—something for which it is known throughout the world.”

Study: Significant Reduction in Bacteria When Using Antibacterial Soap vs. Non-Antibacterial Soap

Handwashing with antibacterial soap produces statistically greater reductions in bacteria on the skin when compared to using non-antibacterial soap.  

Those are the findings of a review of two dozen relevant published studies – analyzing the effectiveness of antibacterial soaps – featured in the November 2011 edition of the peer-reviewed Journal of Food Protection.

Researchers Donald Schaffner and Rebecca Montville of Rutgers University’s (New Jersey) Food Science Department conducted a quantitative analysis of existing data in order to determine if there was a difference in effectiveness between antibacterial and non-antibacterial soaps.

“A difference in the effectiveness of antimicrobial and non-antimicrobial soaps appears to exist and is repeatedly observed through a variety of analyses; antimicrobial soap is consistently and statistically always more effective than non-antimicrobial soap,” the researchers wrote.

The research article, “A Meta-Analysis of the Published Literature on the Effectiveness of Antimicrobial Soap,” reviewed a total of 25 publications containing 374 observations found to have examined use of both antibacterial and non-antibacterial soap in the same study.

“Although differences in efficacy between antimicrobial and non-antimicrobial soap may be relatively small, they do exist, and small but significant differences in pathogen levels on hands can have a significant effect on public health,” wrote Schaffner and Montville.

Added Dr. Schaffner:  “In addition to our findings on antimicrobial effectiveness, I was really struck by the similar behavior of very different species of bacteria in response to antibacterial soap.  In other words, we found that antibacterial soap did its job against a variety of bacteria, including E. coli and Staph.”

The research in the Journal of Food Protection (Vol. 74, No. 11 2011, Pages 1875-1882) was supported by the Topical Antimicrobial Coalition, which consists of the American Cleaning Institute and the Personal Care Products Council.

Links to this and other studies demonstrating the safety and effectiveness of antibacterial soaps are available online at