The FDA Might Start Monitoring Your Makeup

Beauty buffs rejoice: Congress' proposed bill will allow the FDA to regulate ingredients used in your beloved makeup, skincare, and hair products

Corbis Images.

Makeup should make us feel as good as we look, and a new bill just introduced to Congress is hoping to make that a reality.

Because while you'd never eat lead chips, you just might be putting it on your face and hair thanks to the presence of lead acetate in some kohl eyeliners and hair dyes. Yes, lead, a metal known for being so lethally toxic that you can't paint your house with it, is allowed in stuff we paint on ourselves. How, exactly, is that OK? Well, currently, the cosmetics industry runs on the honor system, with companies voluntarily listing ingredients and deciding themselves what is harmful and what isn't. Unfortunately, this can lead to some serious oversights, including the use of lead, risky preservatives, and other toxins that would never be allowed in food, in our makeup. And considering that we put this stuff on our lips and eyes and absorbing it straight into our skin, that's a pretty big deal. (See 11 Ways Your Morning Routine Can Be Making You Sick.)

The Personal Care Products Safety Act aims to close that loophole by allowing the Food and Drug Administration oversight of cosmetics in addition to food and medicine. The bill, which is already supported by several major makeup companies, would require all the ingredients to be disclosed on the label. The FDA will test questionable ingredients, beginning with five every year. (One of the first on the list to be tested are the controversial "parabens," chemicals that have shown to disrupt hormones and other biological functions in research.)

But perhaps the biggest change is that the bill will give the FDA power to recall products it deems dangerous. "From shampoo to lotion, the use of personal care products is widespread, however, there are very few protections in place to ensure their safety," Sen. Diane Feinstein, the author of the bill, said in a public statement. "Europe has a robust system, which includes consumer protections like product registration and ingredient reviews. I am pleased to be introducing this bipartisan legislation with Senator Collins that will require the FDA to review chemicals used in these products and provide clear guidance on their safety."

When you consider just how many products we put on our faces every day-from sunscreen to wrinkle cream to lipstick-we sure hope to see this law pass quickly! (In the meantime, try 7 Natural Beauty Products That Actually Work.)

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