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Dangerous Moment: Industry Plots to Keep Products Toxic

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Coming Clean Campaign page.
“I have loved every minute of my career as a stylist until Brazilian Blowout completely changed my life. Our laws are obviously broken. We are pleading for you to help protect our health and our livelihood.” – Jennifer Arce, written testimony to Energy and Commerce Committee’s March 27 hearing on cosmetics safety.

Jennifer, like far too many of her colleagues and customers, has suffered a growing list of health problems after repeated exposure to cancer-causing formaldehyde from supposedly “formaldehyde-free” Brazilian Blowout.

Tuesday, in response to public outcry over formaldehyde in hair products, mercury in face cream and lead in lipstick, the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held the first Congressional hearing in 30 years on cosmetics safety. Industry representatives dominated the hearing, while people who have been hurt by toxic products — like Jennifer — were shut out of the process.

The committee plans to attach cosmetics legislation to a must-pass medical device and prescription drug user fee authorization bill. Currently, committee leadership is favoring an industry bill that would rubber stamp the status quo, leave out key provisions needed to protect our health and actually make things worse.

Cosmetics industry lobbyists are working non-stop to push this proposal that would make things worse, essentially enshrining into law decisions about ingredient safety made by the industry-funded Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel — something that, according to FDA, would be “unprecedented” and possibly unconstitutional.

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