PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new bill aims to protect people from potentially dangerous chemicals found in everyday health and beauty products. You might not think about all the chemicals in products you use every day: soap, deodorant, moisturizer, hair products.
Consumer advocates say many of those products might be dangerous and they want more oversight.
Women put an average of 168 chemicals on their face and body every day. For men, it’s about 85 chemicals, according to the Environmental Working Group.
Studies show some of those chemicals, like formaldehyde and parabens, have been linked to health problems, including cancer and infertility.
“Cosmetic companies can put virtually anything in personal care products and there’s very little that the FDA can do to stop that,” said Scott Faber, of the Environmental Working Group.
Faber says that’s because it’s been 80 years since a cosmetic bill was passed. He says cosmetic companies have fought stricter regulations.
“Virtually every year from 1950 until 2018, Congress has tried to give FDA these basic powers and they’ve been blocked,” Faber said.
The industry group, Personal Care Product Council, refuted that, saying for years they have worked with members of Congress and others “to create a more contemporary regulatory system.”
In the European Union, some 1,500 chemicals are banned or tightly regulated. In the U.S., just 11 chemicals are banned, as the last one came 30 years ago.
“I will do everything I can to see that people are responsible for products they put on the open market,” California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said.
Feinstein is co-sponsoring a bill that would give the FDA expanded authority to regulate chemicals in cosmetics.
“What you put on your skin seeps through your body, you know they’re poisons,” Feinstein said.
Under the Personal Care Product Safety Act, a company would be required to report consumer complaints to the FDA. It would allow the FDA to recall products and would require them to review five chemicals each year for safety.
Some big names in the beauty industry — including L’Oréal, Revlon and Estée Lauder — have publicly said they support the act, but it’s expected to face some stiff opposition. A growing number of products claim to be chemical free.