Though the Safe Cosmetics Act at the Federal Level continues to work its way through its slow process and has no current update, at the individual State level, there continues to be movement as various States introduce and work on passing legislation that affects soaps and cosmetic manufacturing and labeling.
One of the these bills is MA H02361 had a live hearing today. You can read the full version of the bill here. Though Bramble Berry was not able to attend the hearings in person, we submitted testimony on the Bill. A copy of the letter is below.
Bramble Berry is opposed to the bill as it is currently written. However, it is our belief, based on experience, that these types of bills tend to build upon one another, drawing language from previous versions from other States or at the Federal level. Thus, in our letter, we offered brief, constructive suggestions on how to improve the language in future iterations. The letter was designed to be short, to the point and fit on one page. As there are updates on this bill, I will continue to update this blog post.
Bramble Berry’s Testimony for MA H02361 is as follows:
On behalf of Bramble Berry Inc, a small business serving 60,000 soapmakers and toiletry makers across the United States, I would like to submit the following testimony on MA H02361 filed on January 20, 2011 by Bradley J. Jones Jr.
It is Bramble Berry’s position that handmade cosmetics are safe. We disagree that new legislation is needed in this area. However, if new legislation is introduced, I believe MA H02361 could use clarification in the following areas:
(1) “Authoritative Body” currently allows a private agency or formally organized program or group. I believe the bill would be better served to designate authoritative bodies in advance, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, National Toxicology Program and International Agency for Research on Cancer.
(2) The term “Ingredient” is broad. I suggest pulling out “any individual component of botanical, petroleum-derived, animal-derived, or any other ingredient that the Commissioner or the Director determines to be considered an ingredient.” Additionally, under the definition of ‘Ingredient’, individual components of ingredients would need to be listed on labels, giving rise to long and confusing labels.
(3) The term “Contaminant” is not clarified in the Bill as written. There are many naturally occurring contaminants that are not harmful to the human body. Clarifying what type of contaminants (harmful versus innocuous naturally occurring) would be helpful in this section.
(4) Thank you for the small business exemptions for section 330A, B, C, and D. To be more in line with the Small Business Administration on the definition of a ‘Small Business, Manufacturer’, I suggest moving this up to $8 million in sales and do not include a definition relating to number of employees as to not impede job growth.
(5) In Section 4, regarding the Commission on Safe Cosmetics, I recommend taking out the need for a signer of the ‘Compact for Safe Cosmetics’ because this compact is run by a private non-profit rather than a recognized scientific expert in their field. I suggest having scientists and health professionals round out this Commission on Safe Cosmetics.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this Legislation.
Bramble Berry Inc.
I tried finding more information, and I cannot even begin to understand the bill. But I live in MA and is there an update on this? Did it pass, etc? I’m looking to start making homemade cosmetics and I want to know if its even worth it, or where I can find the laws but I’m having a hard time.
Not to worry, there has been no movement on this and it appears to be done with. There was strong opposition from everyone from Mary Kay reps to the little guys to the big big companies of the world.
The FDA website on cosmetics is your best bet for rules but in a nutshell, follow good manufacturing practices, label your products properly and use safe ingredients in your products and you’re good to go. Oh, and get your business licenses =) City, state and Federal.
Annie Marie, thank you for taking the time to write them and state your case. You’re very smart and put a lot of research into this. I, too, am concerned about reading confusing labels. As it is companies already list so many ingredients made out of chemicals I’ve never heard of. Imagine how much more confusing it will be if they had to list the individual parts of each ingredient. Labels would be a mile long and Never be able to fit on a small bar of soap.
Thanks for being proactive!
I also don’t think labels that long would be helpful to consumers. You bring up a good point – labels already have a lot of things on them that are difficult to understand and pick out. Adding to their length won’t help educate or inform the consumer. But again, I think this comes from well meaning individuals who don’t understand the issues as much as we’d like them to. In my opinion, patient education and working with our lawmakers to help them understand will (hopefully!!) help future versions of these bills (which keep popping up).
Great points A-M. Thank you for sharing your written testimony here. Tweeting it now 🙂
Thanks Kristin! =)
Donna Maria Coles Johnson says
Super, A-M. Tweeting this to share!
Thank you thank you thank you! I live in MA and I was reading more about today’s testimony on the IndieBusinessBlog. I also think Susan Mann – who testified today – made another excellent point: Explore need for legislation in advance of drafting it! While having “safe cosmetics” certainly sounds good, I do wonder where the perceived need for this legislation came from??
I’m not sure where the perceived need came from but what I am convinced is that the staffers who draft the legislation are well meaning – they just don’t quite know our niche industry as well as we do so I’m relieved and happy that they are willing to take our suggestions (and hopefully act upon them). I do not believe that anyone in the US gets up and wonders how they can put small businesses *out* of business and I always believe in the inherent goodwill and intentions of people in general so I’m hopeful that if this proposed bill moves forward, it will be with changes to some of the more vague or troublesome parts of the bill.
Marge Clark says
Anne-Marie is my hero!
thank you for all you do.
And I adore you! I love everything you do for the Essential Oils industry and get all my exotic EOs from you because I know your stuff is quality. XXOO =)