Lauren Jacobs

First Page


Last Page



The American cosmetics industry is not required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct pre-market safety assessments of cosmetics. The FDA only reviews personal care products when people voluntarily report problems. Further, companies continue to test animals for cosmetics, despite the FDA’s recommendation that manufacturers seek more humane and accurate testing. Although the FDA does not require animal testing for product safety or premarket approval, the United States is one of the largest users of laboratory animals for product testing. There are two pending pieces of legislation, which if passed would be the first acts of cosmetic regulation in over eighty-years: the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act (Safe Cosmetics Act) and the Personal Care Products Safety Act (Personal Care Act). This note discusses the reasons the bills should pass and examines the FDA’s current personal care product regulatory scheme. Section II examines recent events in the media, which brought awareness to the current regulatory system’s inadequacies and concerning chemicals. Section III details the current federal legislation governing American cosmetics and proposed legislation. Section IV discusses the European Union’s and California’s stronger approach to cosmetic regulation. Section V proposes adding an animal testing ban and legal definitions for cosmetic terms to pending legislation. Section VI discusses consumer education as a temporary alternative until stronger legislation is passed.