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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics

Politics
Tim P. Whitby / 21st Century Fox / Getty Images

The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.

Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.

The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.


Pfeiffer was there to promote the Personal Care Product Safety Act, a bi-partisan effort co-sponsored by Democratic California Senator Dianne Feinstein and Republican Maine Senator Susan Collins to update cosmetic regulations that have remained largely unchanged since 1938.

"Thanks to Sens. Feinstein and Collins and other congressional leaders for taking on such an important and overdue cause to clean up the cosmetics industry," Pfeiffer said in an EWG press release. "Companies should not be allowed to use hazardous ingredients in products people use and apply to their skin every day. As a parent, I am particularly concerned about the ingredients in products marketed toward infants and children. Parents and expectant parents deserve to know that the soaps, lotions and other products they put on their kids' skin is free of toxic chemicals."

Currently, as EWG explained, cosmetic manufacturers do not have to:

  1. Register their products with the FDA
  2. Submit ingredients lists
  3. Follow safe manufacturing standards
  4. Share safety records
  5. Report hospitalizations or other health impacts

Food and medical products, on the other hand, are subject to all or most of these controls. The act supported by Pfeiffer would close these loopholes and empower the FDA to recall products if a company refuses to do so voluntarily, according to EWG's bill summary.

Pfeiffer has long been concerned with the safety of cosmetics, particularly perfume, Fast Company noted. In addition to lobbying for change, she has also launched her own brand of perfume called Henry Rose that limits its ingredient pool to 250 out of the 3,000 used by most perfumers. Hers is the first perfume to earn the EWG VERIFIED™ mark, the group said.

"Michelle first found EWG after doing her own research about what products were the safest for her family, and no one is more committed to seeing these much-needed reforms by Sens. Feinstein and Collins become law," EWG President Ken Cook, who joined Pfeiffer on Capitol Hill Thursday, said in the press release. "EWG has advocated for new federal cosmetics industry standards for nearly 20 years, and it feels like the moment is upon us."

Pfeiffer isn't the first celebrity to team up with EWG for safer cosmetics. Last year, Kourtney Kardashian attended a Senate briefing on the bill at EWG's invitation, The Washington Post reported.


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