TeamWorks Explores Regulations in Cosmetics

CHICAGO—The Midwest Chapter Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCC) kicked off its biennial event with an extravagant social night, held at Chicago’s Field Museum, at which attendees experienced buffets from varied ethnic backgrounds. Mexican, Midwestern, Asian and other cuisines tempted dinner guests—ending with an expansive dessert spread. Museum exhibits were open to exploration and live entertainment stirred the pace of the evening’s attractions.

The following morning’s conference welcomed five experts covering regulatory concerns in the personal care industry. From varied perspectives, the educational lectures enlightened over 100 attendees about preservatives, naturals, fragrance, international regulation and product claims. Howard Rockman, with a background in law, presented an overview of regulations in the personal care industry. He covered the definitions of drugs vs. cosmetics and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) role in maintaining public safety. Rockman also discussed trade secrets and the concept of confidentiality agreements within companies when they welcome new hires.

William Friedman, also from a law background, discussed issues and opportunities for organic standards in personal care. The market for organic products has grown to approximately US$25 billion. Friedman explained the various levels of organic content in a product and related claims that can be made on product labels at each level. A product containing 95%–99% organic ingredients can claim it is an “organic product” on the label; while a product containing 70%–94%, can claim to be “made with organic ingredients.” Friedman added that the most common category of products is made with this 70%–94% range.

Lakshmi Prakash, Ph.D., of Sabinsa covered natural actives in cosmetics and their regulatory considerations. She explained, “Just because an ingredient is natural does not mean it is safe.” Natural actives can be added to formulations as healthy ingredients but they can contain allergens such as natural colorants. Prakash discussed the Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) program in Europe as well as the European Organization of Cosmetic Ingredients Industries and Services (UNITIS) push toward alternatives to animal testing.

Ladd Smith, Ph.D., president of the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM), took a look at public policy and how consumers have the need to feel safe. He explained RIFM’s role in managing the safety of fragrance materials in formulations—from actively maintaining a detailed database of fragrance material literature from member companies, to reviewing submission studies.

Rounding out the conference, David Steinberg gave an animated speech covering the new California Safe Cosmetic Act of 2005: “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” During the speech, Steinberg added his commentary throughout, illustrating the difficulties created by the new legislation—both for cosmetic manufacturers and lawmakers in California.

The educational conference concluded with a lively question/answer session including all the speakers.

In reply to an organic-related question, Friedman expanded on “organic” claims, stating that the original intent was to claim that a product is “minimally processed.”

In regards to product claims, Rockman commented that the U.S. government may not notice science-based claims made on non-over-the-counter products, but that competing product manufacturers will; and they may bring in the National Advertising Agency (NAD) to litigate.

A member of the audience then posed the queston: “If an ingredient is a blend and tested on animals, do you have to declare it, per Proposition 65?” To which Steinberg answered, “Any part of any blend tested anywhere on animals for any country’s regulations must be documented.”

The conference attendees adjourned into the exhibit hall, which featured booths upon booths of exhibitors highlighting new products and making connections. The Midwest SCC emceed the event, announcing prize winners throughout the day. As the day closed, attendees left with new ideas and information—and bags full of free samples.

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