Congressman Sean Maloney

Representing the 18th District of New York

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Maloney Introduces Landmark Cosmetics Reform Bill

Nov 5, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) introduced the landmark Natural Cosmetics Act which would define the terms “natural” and “naturally-derived ingredient” as they relate to personal care products. There hasn’t been a major federal update to cosmetics regulation in over 80 years. Under the 1938 Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, falsely labeling products as “natural” does not qualify as misbranding and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently has almost no authority to take these products off the shelves. For too long, companies have been allowed to regulate themselves while consumers pay the price.

“Right now, the FDA doesn’t consider it misbranding for companies to label products as ‘natural,’ even if they contain toxins like coal tar, asbestos, and other harmful chemicals. That’s just not right,” said Rep. Maloney. “We’re talking about safety and health of millions of Americans who use these products. My bill will set the standard for ‘natural’ personal care products and do right by American consumers by putting transparency first.”

“I am proud to join my colleague Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney in introducing the Natural Cosmetics Act,” said Rep. Grace Meng (NY-6).Increasing protections, transparency and oversight of personal care products is desperately needed, and this legislation would go a long way towards ensuring strict standards for items claiming to be ‘natural.’ In Congress, I have worked to improve the safety and transparency of cosmetic products, menstrual hygiene products and other consumer goods. I am now proud to help champion this legislation as well. All Americans deserve nothing less than full transparency and accountability from companies that market their products as ‘natural.’ I look forward to this important bill moving through the House, and I urge all of my colleagues to support it.”

“Shopping for personal care products should be easy,” said Gregg Renfrew, Beautycounter’s Founder and CEO. “While words like ‘natural’ can signal a safer product, there are currently no industry standards. For years, Beautycounter has been asking Congress to create clear standards for marketing terms and so we are thrilled to support the Natural Cosmetics Act. This landmark bill sets clear and reasonable standards for companies who want to claim an ingredient or product is natural, while instilling confidence in today’s savvy consumer.”

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) estimates that the average adult uses 12 personal care products each day, exposing themselves to 168 unique chemical ingredients. It’s more than just cosmetics - shampoo, lotion, deodorant, hair dye, nail polish, shaving cream, and a host of other personal care products that millions of Americans use every day are not being regulated.

The Natural Cosmetics Act would define the terms “natural” and “naturally-derived ingredient” as they relate to personal care products. Cosmetic products sold, labeled, or represented as “natural” as defined by the bill must contain at least 70 percent natural substances, excluding water, to use the term. To maintain accountability the bill requires suppliers to conduct Carbon-14 testing which they must submit to manufacturers. The bill would also give the FDA authority to issue a cease distribution order, public notice on the FDA website, and voluntary recall authority of any product deemed misbranded under this act. 

Endorsers: Aprinnova, BaboBotanicals, Beautycounter, The BeautyWell Project, Biossance, Credo, EO Products, Follain, Ivy Wild, May Lindstrom Skin, NakedPoppy, National Women's Health Network (NWHN), OSEA, Pipette, RMS, Take Care Shop, WE ACT for Environmental Justice.