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European Union has Banned or Restricted 1,300 Chemicals in Cosmetics Alone, the United States only 11 Chemicals

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Here is the link for the original article on the Guardian.

The Guardian recently published an article stating that the European Union has restricted or banned 1,300 chemicals in cosmetics alone.  The United States has only banned 11 chemicals.

A brief piece of legislation that was considered in Connecticut in January 2019 unlikely to pass contained just 3 lines “meet the chemical standards set by the European Union.”  Alex Bergstein, state senator of Connecticut, stated that, “Many Americans are unaware that they are absorbing untested and unsafe chemicals in their products.”Bergstein was previously the chair of the mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center.  He believes that the European Union has got it right.  He thinks that the US shows strong favoritism towards companies while sacrificing the environment and public health.

Director of Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Janet Nudleman, says that cosmetic companies can use any raw material they want and there is no way to know if they are safe.

In contrast, the European Union requires manufacturers to prove that a product is safe before it can be used.  The United States has similar rules for new chemicals entering the market, but only precautionary principles for those chemicals already in use.

Certain dyes used in foods were found to create hyperactivity in children were banned in Europe, but not in the US.  Atrazine the most widely used herbicide in the United States, found to cause feminization in frogs, was banned in Europe over concerns of water pollution.  Lead based paints were banned in Europe before World War II, but the United States waited until 1978 to ban lead in paints.  Asbestos exposure leads to mesothelioma.  The EPA attempted to ban it.  But the courts overturned it following a lobbying effort by industry.

The 2016 Lautenburg Act required the EPA to evaluate all potentially risky chemicals.However, the progress is slow.  For instance, methylene chloride was finally banned in paint stripper after retailers voluntarily removed it from their shelves.It is still available for commercial use, though.  This is scant comfort for Wendy Hartley whose 21 year old son died 2 years ago from methylene chloride paint stripper used on a bath tub.  The son even had training on using methylene chloride and a protective mask.

Scott Gottlieb, the ex-FDA commissioner said that cosmetics laws and regulation is from 1938 and outdated.  Gottlieb say that there is no legal requirement for the cosmetic manufacturers to test their products for safety.