News Room

Personal Care Products Council Urges Congress To Modernize Cosmetics Laws; Strengthen FDA Regulatory Authority

For Immediate Release: 
March 27, 2012

Contact:  Lisa Powers, 202/466-0489 or Maiya Dacey, 202/454-0316


Industry Calls for New Era of Comprehensive, Transparent Government Oversight

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Citing the need to enhance existing protections for American consumers, the nation’s cosmetic and personal care products industry today urged Congress to support legislation to modernize existing regulations, provide greater transparency and equip the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with an oversight framework for the 21st century.

“While cosmetic products remain among the safest in commerce, the existing system for regulating our industry is overdue for a makeover,” said Lezlee Westine, President and CEO of the Personal Care Products Council (the Council), which for several years has been advocating for reform.  “The current process has served the public well for decades, but the time has come for us to advocate for additional safeguards as science and technology evolve.”

The Council is seeking to create formal processes for FDA to review ingredients for safety at the request of all public and stakeholder groups and to review all safety determinations made by the independent Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel.  CIR was established in 1976 with the support of the FDA and the Consumer Federation of America.  While companies do assess the safety of products and ingredients prior to marketing, creating these new processes will provide the added transparency that consumers are seeking.
The Council’s science and legal experts advocated for these and other changes at today’s hearing of the Health Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.  

“The basic statutory provisions that govern FDA regulatory authority over cosmetics today were put in place in 1938,” testified Peter Barton Hutt, the former chief counsel for the FDA and longtime Harvard law lecturer on the current legal and regulatory system.  “Since then, FDA and the cosmetic industry have worked together to keep pace with changing technology by the promulgation of creative regulations and the establishment of new regulatory programs.”

Despite the fact the FDA has repeatedly stated that cosmetics are the safest products they regulate, Hutt said that the increasing global nature of the industry, a desire for more transparency from consumers and other factors suggest “it is time to bring FDA’s statutory authority up to date.”

Dr. Halyna Breslawec, the Council’s chief scientist agreed with Hutt, recommending that FDA incorporate the CIR findings into its product regulatory process.  

“FDA should formally recognize the findings of the CIR Expert Panel as part of the regulatory regime for cosmetics,” Breslawec said. “Science and safety are the foundation of the cosmetics industry and collectively we must remain steadfast in our commitment to safety.  Acceptance and reliance on CIR findings will reaffirm that commitment.”

Breslawec urged Congress to ensure a workable system that allows small businesses to thrive, especially those created by women.

“A regulatory structure should be comprehensive and robust, but should not be so overly burdensome that it stifles or prevents companies from delivering innovative products to the marketplace,” she testified. “The cosmetics industry plays a unique role in the lives of American women, and not just as women consumers. We are dedicated to ensuring women have advantages and opportunities for both their professional and personal success.”

Through its experts, the Council offered the following specific provisions for Congress to consider which would bolster FDA’s oversight:

1.  Enacting into law the existing FDA voluntary programs for registration of manufacturing establishments and listing of cosmetic products and their ingredients.
2.  Requiring submission of reports on adverse reactions that are serious and unexpected.
3.  Mandating FDA regulations establishing Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) for cosmetics.
4.  Establishing programs to require FDA to review and determine the safety of cosmetic ingredients and constituents along with strong FDA enforcement.
5.  Requiring FDA review of all CIR determinations on cosmetic ingredient safety and either accept or reject those determinations.
6.  FDA establishment of a national cosmetic regulatory databank for use by other state authorities and the public. 
7.  An unambiguous Congressional determination that, as modernized, the revised statute will apply uniformly across the country.

 “Our industry supports these important reforms and encourages Congress to act on them,” said Lezlee Westine, Council President and CEO. “We are requesting comprehensive, mandatory regulation and our rationale for that is simple: it is in the best interest of regulators, manufacturers and consumers – all of whom will greatly benefit for years to come.”

For the complete text of the Council’s expert testimony, please click


For more information on cosmetic and personal care products and their ingredients, visit

Based in Washington, D.C., the Personal Care Products Council is the leading national trade association representing the $250 billion global cosmetic and personal care products industry.  Founded in 1894, the Council's more than 600 member companies manufacture, distribute, and supply the vast majority of finished personal care products marketed in the U.S.  As the makers of a diverse range of products millions of consumers rely on everyday, from sunscreens, toothpaste and shampoo to moisturizer, lipstick and fragrance, personal care products companies are global leaders committed to product safety, quality and innovation.  

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