The other day, the Campaign For Safe Cosmetics published a statement at their website called, “The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010: What it Means for Cosmetics Companies.” I noticed that they left out quite a few very important requirements that are clearly spelled out in H.R. 5786 — things that all cosmetics companies, including their Compact signers, need to know. Rather than put them all in one mega-post, I’m dividing up into digestible pieces. Let’s look at what they say in Point No. 1:
CFSC says, “What companies will have to do
According to our understanding of the legislation, cosmetics companies will have to:
* Register the company and its products with the FDA;
* Fully disclose ingredients in products (businesses that have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics have already agreed to do this, and hundreds of companies are already fully disclosing all ingredients, including those that make up “fragrance”);
* Pay fees based on total annual sales to ensure the FDA has the capacity to evaluate the safety of ingredients; companies with under $1 million in annual sales are exempt from fees; and
* Share safety data about product ingredients and ensure that all ingredients in the company’s products have been assessed for safety.”
As I prepare this post, I’m looking at the same legislation they are, and according to my understanding of the legislation, it seems they left a few things off of their list.
Before I get to that, I want to quickly call your attention to their statement that they only have an “understanding” of the legislation. This makes it seems like they don’t have the inside scoop — like they are reading it as an outsider, like me and you and their Compact signers are. That inference is misleading.
CFSC representatives have been in robust discussions with Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s (D-Il) office for at least the last 24 months where this legislation is concerned. To pretend like they have to interpret it like an outsider, like they only have an “understanding” of things is disingenuous at best.
* In their summary of things cosmetics companies have to do under the bill, they forgot to mention that cosmetics companies will have to:
* Register a “description of the establishment’s activities with respect to cosmetics” (Sec. 612(c)(1)(B));
* Report “the number of workers employed at the establishment” (Sec. 612(c)(1)(C));
* Report the “gross receipts of sales” (Sec. 612(c)(1)(D));
* Report “the name and address of any company that supplies the establishment … with any ingredient (including preservatives, fragrances, or any other chemical component of a finished cosmetics product) and the name of the ingredient supplied ….” (Sec. 612(c)(1)(E));
And they forgot to mention that some of this sensitive information provided by your company may be “subject to disclosure under section 552 of Title 5 of the United States Code.” (Sec. 612(e)(3));That’s the Freedom of Information Act in case you didn’t know.
How Will You Do All Of This Registering?
Don’t you already let other government officials know when you hire a new worker? And you pay into an unemployment compensation fund when you do, and you have lots of paperwork to fill out. And you have withholding and Social Security forms to complete already, yes?
A New Hire
So, let’s see what could happen if you hire someone this week, and you register that fact with the FDA. Then next week, things don’t work out and you fire her, or she quits. It’s back to the FDA database again, right? In between sorting through job applications and trying to find someone to replace her so your business can keep going, you have to report to the FDA that you no longer have 3 workers, you now have 2? And then when you hire a new worker, it’s back to the database to let the FDA know again.
I wonder if they care about that. Oh, and how does the FDA’s knowledge of when you hire and fire a worker help you make safer cosmetics?
A New Essential Oil Supplier
What if your lavender essential oil supplier can no longer supply you with oil. In addition to scrambling around to find a new supplier so you can make your products, when you finally find one and breathe a sigh of relief that you can get back to making your products, you have to go back to the FDA and register your newly found supplier, and all of their contact information?
Your Gross Receipts of Sales
You already provide the Internal Revenue Service and state authorities with information about how much money your business makes? Isn’t that paperwork enough? Why should you tell the FDA about it too?
Oh, and then, your failure to comply with all of these registration requirements can result in your removal from the database, which removal is treated as a “suspension of the establishment’s registration.” (Sec. 612 (e)(2)). So if you make a mistake or just get busy and forget to register something, your registration could be revoked, thus jeopardizing your livelihood.
These things are all omitted from CFSC’s statement.
Read It For Yourself
Don’t rely on what anyone else tells you about this law. Don’t rely on me even. Read it for yourself (PDF).
I’ll share my commentary on the rest of CFSC’s statement as I am able in the coming days, especially the part about sharing safety data. They make it seem so simple. I assure you that it is not.
Question: How many times a year does your staff turn over? How often do you have to find a new supplier for a natural ingredient? Think about how many times those things have happened at your small business in the last 12 months? Can you imagine having to report each instance to the FDA, under threat of having your cosmetics business registration revoked?