Cosmetics Reform Bill Approved but Prognosis is Low


U.S. federal law does not currently require cosmetic ingredients, other than color additives, to be registered or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before entering the market. A newly proposed bill would change this; although its prognosis for being passed is low, one AI tool predicts.

House of Representatives (H.R.) Bill 5279, or the Cosmetic Safety Enhancement Act of 2019, proposes specifications for the registration of cosmetic manufacturing and processing facilities; packaging or holding facilities; and the selection and complete review on an ongoing basis of cosmetic ingredients or nonfunctional constituents.

For example, Section 606, on cosmetic ingredients, states: "For each cosmetic product, the responsible person shall submit to the Secretary a cosmetic ingredient statement...[that] shall not become effective until the responsible person pays any applicable fee required under section 744M." Provisions are made for existing versus new products, as well as smaller businesses and confidential fragrance ingredients (other than fragrance allergens). 

Furthermore, per section 608, conditions of use and tolerance for ingredients will be considered, setting limits in products intended for children, pregnant women and other vulnerable populations, and for products used on or near the eyes or mucosal membranes. 

Upon review, the Secretary would publish in the Federal Register a list of the ingredients, nonfunctional constituents or categories thereof in the cosmetic product and open a public docket to solicit data relevant to the safety of the ingredients or nonfunctional constituents or classes thereof for at least 60 days. These are but a few highlights (see the complete bill for details).

Status Updates

Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. of New Jersey, introduced the bill on Dec. 3, 2019, to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, seeking to empower FDA oversight. (Rep. Pallone is the committee’s chairman.) The committee held a hearing about the bill in early March 2020 before the health subcommittee passed the bill on March 11, 2020, "signaling traction for cosmetics legislative reform," according to a report by Glossy.

The bill will be voted on by the full committee before it can advance to the U.S. House floor for a vote. If approved, it would eventually move to the U.S. Senate and finally, the President for approval.

“The thing that will be most encouraging right out of the gate is that the FDA will actually be properly resourced [with funding and oversight]. It’s going to force companies to look at the ingredients they’re putting in products and drive ingredient innovation,” said Gregg Renfrew, Beautycounter founder and CEO, who provided witness testimony in December to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Approval Prognosis: Low

But will the bill, in fact, make it to the presidential desk? According to Skopos Labs, an AI-based platform that predicts the impact of policy-making on markets, the bill has a 5% chance.

Prognosis details, reported on the GovTrack website, state: "This bill has a 5% chance of being enacted. Factors considered: The overall text of the bill increases its chances of being enacted. Although this bill has a low chance of enactment, there is 1 provision within this bill that the provision-level textual analysis considers likely to be enacted. There are often multiple bills with the same legal provisions within them. The bill is assigned to the House Energy and Commerce committee. There is 1 related bill in Congress. The bill's primary subject is Health."

In relation, a report by HBW Insight states, "...H.R. 5279 still lacks any concrete provisions regarding federal preemption of state and local requirements, though bill author and full committee chair Frank Pallone, D-NJ, remains committed to discussions on the subject. He recognized preemption as 'a major issue that I know we have to deal with.'"

Follow us as we report on the progression of this legislation.

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