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.


5 Responses to “What’s Going On?”
  1. Meghan says:

    I believe in the middle road. I think we should just simply adopt the European Unions policy . I think cosmetic formulas like lotions and anything going on or around the eyes/lips/babies/and children SHOULD be submitted to chemists/lab for approval and safety. I think accurate INCI labeling is sufficient though. Full constitutive labeling is impractical and 3/4ths of the public wouldn’t understand it anyway. BTW Good manufacturing practices that are currently outlined by the FDA absolutely should be enforced! If you can’t follow those basics you shouldn’t be in business anyway. The European Unions policy has not destroyed independent business in the bath and beauty industry there and it wouldn’t here it can also be implemented in a way that wouldn’t be financially devastating to small business owners.

  2. Tammy Dozer says:

    Well I have to say I would be oppose. I am just getting started and this would probably mean I would not be able to keep going. That would be a sad thing because I have finely found something I enjoy doing and would like to make a living doing. It is fun to give a gifts which I do a lot of, But it is even a greater feeling when some one want to put out money for something you make. I don’t know know what I can do to help with this but I certainly will if I can.

    Thank you for the info
    Tammy Dozier

  3. Katherine says:

    I have been trying to create a soap business for quite a while now but have been struggling to do so. These so called regulations would totally ruin me forever. Where would I get the funding for so much requirements (fancy labelling, packaging, etc.) due to more informational requirements. I know regulations are necessary for these type of products since they will used on our body, but maybe they should be observed or considered for major companies and not for the small homebased soap crafter. Soap crafters should be classified in categories, say maybe three (3), and then regulations should be created according to that specific category. It would be more than silly to expect a home based soap crafter to comply with the same regulations imposed to a major soap company.

    Katherine Quinones
    Anderik Candles
    Arecibo, Puerto Rico

  4. I agree with Katherine. I have just begun doing this, and finally found something that I really enjoy doing. While I already list each and every ingredient to include the INCI names, but to have to submit my formulas and the other requirements, I may as well give up before I begin. In no way can any small soapmaker meet those requirement. To me, it sounds like its the big companies who are the real push behind this, They want to eliminate us small time soapers, which corner a nice niche market and pollute all of us with chemicals on our skins.. As long as they list them on the labels, its ok, right?

  5. SavonTalk says:

    Thank you ladies, for your thoughtful replies. There is much to be done yet in our industry, but if we band together and stay on our toes, we can make a dent!

Leave Your Comments Below