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Note - You Don’t Know What’s in Your Shampoo, and Neither Does the FDA: A Call for Change


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.