American consumers seldom contemplate whether the ingredients
in their shampoo or other personal care products are poisoning them.
Most erroneously believe some government entity, such as the Food
and Drug Administration (FDA), regulates the ingredients these
products may contain, and thus assume they are safe. The alarming
reality is that the FDA lacks the authority to regulate ingredients or
issue an independent recall. To date, all modern congressional attempts
to effectively regulate our exposure to toxic chemical ingredients
have failed. And existing legislation, passed in 1938, does little
to address modern manufacturing trends. While implementing new
regulations may be unpopular in the United States’ current political
climate, toxic exposure to these ingredients knows no political affiliation.
And if the function of government is not at its very core to protect
public welfare—then what is? Pending legislation, which has received
bipartisan support, would grant the FDA authority to regulate
permissible ingredients, conduct limited pre-market surveillance of
ingredients, and issue an independent recall.
This analysis, however, goes beyond the need for new regulations.
In addition to implementing pending legislation, Congress should look
to the European Union (EU) laws and adopt additional safeguards.
Similar to the EU, it is essential that the FDA be granted authority to
reevaluate and update permissible ingredients on a rolling basis. For
the first time since 1938, Congress must take action to protect American
consumers from the hazardous chemical exposure that occurs during a seemingly safe part of their daily routines.