Mar 23, 2019 | Updated: 12:48 PM EDT

Endocrine Society commends reinvigorated effort to regulate chemicals in personal care products

Mar 09, 2019 10:17 AM EST

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Endocrine Society commends reinvigorated effort to regulate chemicals in personal care products (Image)

WASHINGTON, DC--The Endocrine Society applauded the reintroduction of a Senate bill that would give government regulators needed authority to protect consumers from exposure to hazardous endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in cosmetics and other personal care products.

The Personal Care Products Safety Act, co-sponsored by U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Susan Collins, would set a rigorous safety standard for personal care products and provide the public with more information about the chemicals in the products they are purchasing. The Society and its 18,000 members, including researchers studying the health risks of endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure, are leading efforts to enact science-based policies that would protect the public from these chemicals.

"Soaps, lotions, cosmetics and other personal care products contain known endocrine-disrupting chemicals, including phthalates, parabens and the antibacterial triclosan," said Heather Patisaul, Ph.D., a member of the Society's Endocrine-disrupting Chemicals Advisory Group. "Current chemical testing and labeling rules do not adequately inform or protect consumers from the long-term health risks these chemicals pose, particularly to pregnant women and children."

An EDC is a chemical or mixture of chemicals that can cause adverse health effects by interfering with hormones in the body. There are more than 85,000 manufactured chemicals, of which thousands may be EDCs. EDCs are found in everyday products and throughout the environment. EDC-related health outcomes include male reproductive disorders, premature death, obesity and diabetes, neurological impacts, breast cancer, female reproductive disorders, prostate cancer and thyroid disorders.

The bill's reintroduction comes days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced new steps it is taking to better monitor cosmetic safety within the existing limitations of its authority. Under the current law governing cosmetic safety, which dates to 1938, manufacturers are not legally required to test their products for safety.

The Personal Care Products Safety Act calls for some chemicals found in shampoo, deodorant, cosmetics and other personal care products to be reviewed for safety for the first time. Under the proposed legislation, propyl paraben and diethyl phthalate--potential EDCs linked to reproductive system disorders and breast cancer--would be two of the initial five chemicals designated for review.

The Society supports the legislation's provisions to arm the FDA with the necessary authority and fees to properly regulate personal care products.

"These measures will create a safer marketplace for personal care products and reduce the public health threat posed by EDCs," Patisaul said.

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