Photos by idhren You'd think that stricter standards for the products we slather on ourselves each day would be a good thing, but not everyone's standing behind the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011, a new bill that could—quite literally—change the face of the beauty industry as we know it. An online petition has been urging small-business owners to denounce possible legislation, calling it "unworkable, unfair, and fundamentally flawed." We asked Janet Nudelman, program director of the Breast Cancer Fund, a nonprofit that seeks to eradicate the environmental causes of breast cancer, to make sense of the misinformation. In her own words, Nudelam debunks four of the most commonly held myths about the bill.
THE BILL WILL HARM SMALL BUSINESSES
The bill sponsors—Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Edward Markey (D-MA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)—worked hard to hear the concerns of the small business community and ensure that the new version of the Safe Cosmetics Act is workable and helpful for small businesses. Most notably, the new bill exempts microbusinesses with less than $2 million in annual sales from
THE BILL WILL REQUIRE COMPANIES TO TEST EVERY INGREDIENT
The petition argues that the cost of pre-market testing for ingredients and contaminants from ingredients would be a barrier to entry for small businesses and put the majority of them out of business.
THE BILL WILL REQUIRE IMPOSSIBLE LABELING STANDARDS
The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 requires manufacturers to disclose the name of each ingredient in their products in descending order of prominence, including the ingredients that make up fragrance. It's up to the FDA to determine whether all ingredients are to be listed on the product label or online—an important “reality check” for small products that contain a lot of ingredients.
THE BILL IS UNWORKABLE AND WILL CRUSH THE FDA
The Safe Cosmetics Act will bring cosmetics into line with other products the FDA is already overseeing, and it'll help the agency do the job the American people think it is already doing.