Video Replay and Hearing Summary

Following up on yesterday's announcement, the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health today hosted a hearing entitled, Building Consumer Confidence by Empowering FDA to Improve Cosmetic Safety. You can watch the hearing, with time stamps, below. If you are new to this blog, or this issue, new cosmetics laws have been under consideration since 2008. You can read a lot of background and previous advocacy in our Law and Advocacy section.

You can download the most recent version (in PDF) of proposed legislation at this link. You can watch the entire hearing by clicking the play arrow below.

Hearing Overview

Opening Statements

While I encourage you to watch the entire hearing, these time stamps will make it easier for you to scroll to sections that most interest you.

10:34: Ms. Eshoo (CA). She discusses California's Safe Cosmetics Act and lack of oversight and inspection over imported cosmetics.

15:08: Dr. Burgess (TX). He says that the bill does not adequately address the issue of federal preemption, the importance of federal law preempt any state laws to avoid disruption and confusion, especially for small businesses, and the importance of exemptions for small manufacturers.

18:54: Mr. Schimkus (IL). He says consumers want to know that FDA is ensuring the safety of cosmetics.

20:20: Chairman Pallone (NJ). He hearkens back to the FDA Globalization Act of 2009, which had it passed, would have simultaneously regulated food, drugs, and cosmetics. He focuses on the need for: (1) mandatory FDA recall authority; (2) compliance with GMP by foreign manufacturers; (3) adverse event reporting requirements; and (4) addressing preemption in a way that ensures legal uniformity while respecting states rights.

24:38: Ms. Schakowski (IL). Cosmetics are the most used and least regulated of consumer products. “An unregulated cosmetics industry is a public health hazard.”

26:14: Mr. Walden (OR). Personal care products are regulated as cosmetics or drugs, and cosmetics are low-risk nature products. While there are currently no mandatory reporting or ingredient registration requirements, FDA already regulates cosmetics in ways that acknowledge their low-risk nature and ensure their safety.

Mr. Walden shared what I consider to be one of the most resonating and insightful comments regarding the impact of proposed legislation on small business:

I am concerned that significant regulatory burden, while manageable for larger more established manufacturers, could threaten the existence of some small businesses who have fewer resources to expend on regulatory compliance, and the ability for new entrepreneurs to enter the market. As we'll hear today, legislation to regulate the cosmetics industry will not only impact large companies whose products we see on drug store shelves or advertised on television, but also individuals back at home who are simply trying to bring in a little extra income to support their families. An individual who makes handcrafted soap out of their home to sell at the local farmer's market may not warrant the same regulatory requirements as larger companies.

Gregg Walden, (R-OR)

Witness Testimony with Time Stamps

32:13: Susan T. Mayne Ph.D., FDA: Testimony and questions

2:32:20: Gregg Renfrew, Founder and CEO of Beautycounter: Testimony and questions

2:37: 17: Leigh O'Donnell, Executive Director, Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild: Testimony and Questions

2:42:00: M. Isabelle Chaudry, Senior Policy Manager, National Women's Health Network: Testimony and questions

2:47:33: Scott Faber: Senior Vice President for Government Affairs, Environmental Working Group: Testimony and questions

If you are a member of the Indie Business Network, we invite you to watch the replay and join the discussion in our private entrepreneurial discussion community.

If you are not participating in our private group, you can join by following the instructions here.

Let Your Voice Be Heard!

While we do not know what, if any, outcome will result from this hearing, it is never a bad time to let your representatives know where you stand as small business owners who are affected by every law and regulation, no matter how small.

As American Makers, you are the experts on the products you make and the industry in which you thrive. You possess first-hand information that our lawmakers do not in terms of why your business interests must be considered as these legislative efforts continue.

Your stories from the front lines are the only real meaningful way to inform lawmakers about how fees, reporting requirements and paperwork will affect your business, your family, your community, and your customers.

Please consider taking a moment to inform your member(s) of Congress how your life and business are impacted by their actions. Let them know that your concerns as an American Maker and small business owner should be considered and respected, and that no proposal that would unfairly burden you should ever become law.

If you want help finding your representative and resources for how to contact them, you can use this tool provided by the Coalition of Handcrafted Entrepreneurs.

Further Reading and Learning

This blog will be updated with useful information and necessary clarifications, either via this post or a supplement to this post.

You can also read an update at the Coalition of Handcrafted Entrepreneurs at this link. For historical perspective, visit the Law and Advocacy section of this blog.

Questions, Comments and Sharing

Please share your questions, comments, and feedback in the comments below. To help us ensure that as many stakeholders as possible are aware of this update, please share this post on Facebook and Twitter

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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.