What’s Going On?
What’s going on regarding legislation of soap and cosmetics in the US?
The answer is a bit complicated.
Many groups such as EWG (Environmental Working Group) and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics are pushing hard for stricter laws regarding ingredients used and labeling. If they have their way, soap and cosmetic makers will find themselves in a much different position than they stand at the moment. Gone will be the days of the FDA’s assumption that unless proven otherwise, manufacturers are making safe products. Instead, a more proactive approach will be adopted, whereby each manufacturer will be required to register with the government, be required to comply with certain Good Manufacturing Practices, and to register each formula. Not only that, but labeling will become more detailed. Not only will the ingredient be required, but possibly also the components of that ingredient. For instance, every constituent of olive oil would have to be listed. Each fatty acid, each phenol, ester, squalene, and so on. You can imagine what a burden that would be.
What’s more, many ingredients could be outlawed, including some very common and natural ones. Why? Because natural plant products very often contain traces of substances such as lead and arsenic. Where would this leave us? With a very limited palate of ingredients, to be sure.
Concerned? You should be! Even if you don’t currently sell your products, you should be concerned for your future, and for your fellow soap and cosmetic makers. Many would be forced out of business because the regulations would just be too strenuous for anyone but the largest of companies to maintain. It’s quite possible that you could no longer obtain your favorite ingredients.
You might be asking how real the threat is. The general feeling is that legislation is surely on its way. Not this year, perhaps, but in the not-too-distant future. Too much pressure is being put on legislators to think the bill will continue to fall through over and over again.
Who is working to prevent this from happening? In fact, several groups and individuals are using their efforts, separately and together, to see that micro cosmetic businesses are well represented here. Many suppliers are fighting for us, the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild has hired lobbyists to represent us, and Personal Care Truth is working to get the message out there regarding safe cosmetics.
How do you feel about this legislation? Do you support it or oppose it? Let us know.