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The government is coming for your handmade soap

The government is coming for your handmade soap

The FDA beast must be fed

As if there weren’t more important things to be concerned about…

Lawmakers are considering legislation that would further regulate cosmetics including handmade soap. The Personal Care Products Safety Act was introduced by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Cal) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) last month. The bill is currently rattling around in the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

The stated purpose of the bill is to, “protect consumers and streamline industry compliance by strengthening the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority to regulate the ingredients in personal care products. While the personal care products industry is projected to exceed $60 billion in U.S. revenue this year, federal regulations on these products have not been updated in 75 years.”

Essentially, the Personal Care Products Safety Act is another venture in big government glut that would expand the FDA’s jurisdiction thereby creating more bureaucracy, wasting taxpayer money, and hindering small business growth. More specifically though, the bill would impose fees, and add ridiculous reporting and labeling requirements.

Sen. Feinstein boasts support from just about every big cosmetic industry player including:

  • Personal Care Products Council (a trade association representing more than 600 companies in the industry)
  • Johnson & Johnson (brands include Neutrogena, Aveeno, Clean & Clear, Lubriderm, Johnson’s baby products)
  • Procter & Gamble (brands include Pantene, Head & Shoulders, Clairol, Herbal Essences, Secret, Dolce & Gabbana,
  • Gucci, Ivory, Cover Girl, Olay, Sebastian Professional, Vidal Sassoon)
  • Revlon (brands include Revlon, Almay, Mitchum)
  • Estee Lauder (brands include Estée Lauder, Clinique, Origins, Tommy Hilfiger, MAC, La Mer, Bobbi Brown, Donna Karan, Aveda, Michael Kors)
  • Unilever (brands include Dove, Tresemme, Lever, St. Ives, Noxzema, Nexxus, Pond’s, Suave, Sunsilk, Vaseline, Degree)
  • L’Oreal (brands include L’Oréal Paris, Lancome, Giorgio Armani, Yves Saint Laurent, Kiehl’s, Essie, Garnier, Maybelline-New York, Vichy, La Roche-Posay, The Body Shop, Redken)

But what about the independent cosmetic purveyor?

Home operated cosmetic and soap makers are sounding the alarm. While the legislation has some protections for small businesses, like an exemption for those making less than $100,000 in gross annual revenue, the restrictions would still create significant hurdles for many in the artisan cosmetic community.

The Handmade Cosmetic Alliance which claims to represent over, “300,000 primarily woman-owned small handmade cosmetic” businesses is circulating a petition for those who would be adversely affected by the Personal Care Products Safety Act. They contend their products are made from goods already falling under FDA’s oversight. The petition specifies:

The HCA had several meetings over many months with the sponsor of S. 1014 and presented information to support small business exemptions similar to those the 2011 Food Modernization Safety Act (FSMA). Sadly, a decision was made to use prescription drugs and medical device standards for small handmade cosmetic businesses. This does not make sense.

My products are soaps, lotions and scrubs made largely with food-grade ingredients found in any grocery store and are sold for topical use. Customers do not ingest them, nor are they used to treat medical conditions.

I make handmade cosmetics for a living and they are the safest products on the market. My products comply with FDA labeling requirements and the ingredients are commonly known (i.e, olive oil, oatmeal, sugar, coconut oil, etc).

I cannot afford the user fees proposed in S. 1014. Further, my business has no capacity to do the reporting requirements for each product batch (10-50 units) as it could be several hundred FDA filings per month.

Home made soaps are obviously a consumer risk begging for regulation, right?

Sen. Feinstein also said, “Europe has a robust system, which includes consumer protections like product registration and ingredient reviews. I am pleased to be introducing this bipartisan legislation with Senator Collins that will require FDA to review chemicals used in these products and provide clear guidance on their safety. In addition, the legislation has broad support from companies and consumer groups alike.”

Though, in a publication detailing cosmetic regulations, the Personal Care Counsel disagrees with Sen. Feinsteins’s EU glorification:

It is sometimes suggested that cosmetic products are more strictly regulated in the European Union (EU) than in the United States and that the EU system is, for this reason, a better model than its U.S. counterpart. In fact, however, the approach to regulating cosmetics in the EU and the United States is fundamentally the same.

There seems to be little reason for the legislation other than to expand the FDA’s reach. Though I prefer to shower without the company of the federal government. But that’s just me.

[Featured image a screen grab from this video]

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Desert_Rat45 | May 7, 2015 at 1:55 pm

The purpose of the bill isn’t to protect consumers and streamline industry. The purpose of the bill is to increase the power of big government.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Desert_Rat45. | May 7, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    That, and to reward the machine-made corporate cosmetics lobbyists who no doubt paid big money for this special interest protectionist bill.

buckeyeminuteman | May 7, 2015 at 1:57 pm

As California goes, so goes the nation.

Ragspierre | May 7, 2015 at 2:07 pm

Believe it or not, there is such a thing as BIG SOAP, and they’re the ones behind this.

“While the personal care products industry is projected to exceed $60 billion in U.S. revenue this year, federal regulations on these products have not been updated in 75 years.”

Good, so let’s broom the whole flucking boondoggle. We are smart enough to chose our own soap and shampoo.

Let the nuns, monks, and housewives make us excellent products, and we’ll take it from there.

streamline industry compliance

That’s an excuse I don’t think I’ve heard before.

It’s like the government is distributing free white flags, so that we won’t have to buy our own when we surrender. How thoughtful.

The good news is that US political life hasn’t yet decayed so far that the totalitarian cancer thinks it no longer needs to con us with excuses.

    Ragspierre in reply to tom swift. | May 7, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Ah, but remember…the fascist economic model LOVES BIG BUSINESS, and viser verser (as Archie Bunker would say).

    BIG BUSINESSES are looking to protect themselves from innovation and competition from new, dynamic entrepreneurial businesses. They NATURALLY seek to capture markets via regulation.

    BIG FASCIST GOVERNMENT hates…HATES…entrepreneurs. They can’t be readily controlled, and they resist the allocation of resources by “brights”. BIG BUSINESSES can manipulate the control of resources by central planners via lobbying.

    The counter-thrust is just let us have choice. Let the magic of the market work. I DOES work, every time you let it.

Perhaps our government might want to consider spending its time and our money on more pressing issues . . . like eliminating criminal illegal aliens, ISIS, and self-radicalized domestic terrorists?

Feinstein and Collins were not elected to be federal super mommies

What? No fight club jokes?

What part of Food and or drug is soap?

300,000 primarily woman-owned small handmade cosmetic” businesses is circulating a petition for those who would be adversely affected by the Personal Care Products Safety Act”

Can anyone guess which popular Lib meme will be effectively countered with this quote?

DaveGinOly | May 7, 2015 at 5:12 pm

There’s a reason why Europe and other places have laws and regulation we don’t – America is the place in the world that’s supposed to be different. It was created to be different, and if it’s not kept different, what’s the point of having an “America”?

“There seems to be little reason for the legislation other than to expand the FDA’s reach”

I’d say this is more about protecting large manufacturers from competition.

So many things come to mind, some which I can’t say or type, because they are four letter things…

I know a sweet lady whose last child is graduating high school. She has decided to start making her delightful homemade soaps again. I hate that there are people who are determined to suck the joy out of life because they think we are too stupid to make decisions for ourselves: decisions about what kind of businesses to start, decisions about what kind of products to buy… I just hate it.

On top of that — who is monitoring the umpteen jillion homeopathic products with Spanish labels that crowd the shelves of the local Walmart, HEB, etc.? When I go to look for OTC cold meds and the like, I see an increasing number of items that come from south of the border. Who’s making sure that stuff won’t hurt us? Hmmm???????

gregjgrose | May 7, 2015 at 6:53 pm

1st this, then next the other thing, before you know it, the whole megillah… You know, the slippery soap argument.

collins is such a big government douche

HolySchmokes | May 8, 2015 at 9:12 am

Diane Feinstein:
DON’T. Drop the soap.

“Sen. Feinstein getspayola‘ from just about every big cosmetic industry player including…”
There. Fixed it.

P.S. Didn’t a certain jug-earred individual once say “…I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”?
Maybe DuFi, I mean, DiFi, wasn’t listening.

Finally! FINALLY! A cause that will make my wife pay attention to politics!

TotallyPeeved | May 11, 2015 at 6:30 pm

I wish these commie politicians so enamored of eurabia would hie their evil asses over there to live.