Innovation is not just for Silicon Valley – every day, thousands of small cosmetics businesses create new products that will help millions of Americans look and feel their best, and create jobs in the process. But a new bill threatens to stifle these entrepreneurs and kill jobs.

We all agree that cosmetics and personal care products should be held to a high safety standard – no one more than those who manufacture and sell these products. And while well-intentioned, the Personal Care Products Safety Act would do more harm than good in the name of promoting safety.

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The bill would not create uniform national regulations, which small businesses badly need in order to grow in the United States. It would, however, put unnecessary burdens on small businesses by charging them heavy fees, putting them at a disadvantage against large, multi-national corporations. And, if passed, it would undoubtedly stifle innovation and competition because it so clearly favors larger businesses, unfairly limiting the players in the industry to only those with the most capital.

There’s a better way to modernize our nation’s oversight of the cosmetics industry. That’s why we at the Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers and Distributers (ICMAD), an industry trade association representing over 700 cosmetic distributors, manufacturers and suppliers, support the Safe Cosmetics Modernization Act. Sponsored by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), this bill would enhance FDA oversight of cosmetics while providing clear direction and certainty for all regulated companies. Unlike the Personal Care Products Safety Act, it creates transparency in all health and safety decisions related to cosmetics and increases consumer protections. It does all this without overburdening small businesses or stifling the innovation that is the lifeblood of our industry.

At ICMAD, safety is the top priority of our companies. For over 40 years we have brought Food and Drug Administration (FDA) leaders to our trainings. They work with our 700-plus member companies to understand and comply with state and national regulations that govern the cosmetics and personal care industry. Our members are committed to providing safe and effective products to their customers. They impose stringent health and safety standards and follow all state and federal laws.

Our member businesses take product safety seriously, not only to protect their customers, but to ensure their companies are successful for the long term. As one example, the founders of Jack Black LLC, a privately owned skin care company founded in 2000, used their combined life savings to launch a line of men’s personal care products. When they started, it was only the three founders working out of their homes. Today, the company is a leader in men’s skin care, employing nearly 80 people, and their array of more than 75 products are sold at national retailers like Nordstrom and Sephora.

Like other small businesses in the cosmetics industry, the team at Jack Black is now faced with a growing patchwork of state regulations that are separate and sometimes inconsistent with FDA standards. Compliance with these separate state standards would require labeling changes, reformulation, additional testing and excessive packaging requirements. These are simply not feasible for small businesses, even a successful one like Jack Black.

Making it as a small business owner in the cosmetics industry – or any industry, for that matter – is an uphill climb with many challenges. The last thing American entrepreneurs and job creators need are unnecessary regulatory burdens or a patchwork of contradictory regulations. What we do need is for our leaders to work with us to modernize FDA requirements and create a national safety standard. 

ICMAD is proud to represent small businesses that comprise the cosmetics industry, which is a $56 billion contributor to the U.S. economy and a strong export industry that supports American jobs. We look forward to continuing the conversation with our colleagues, our elected leaders and the FDA to modernize its laws and ensure that consumers get safe, high-quality, innovative products that help them protect their skin and look and feel their personal best. As ICMAD has done for the last 40 years, we will continue to support small businesses as job creators and sources of innovation.

Busiek is president of the Independent Cosmetics Manufacturers and Distributors (ICMAD).


The views expressed by authors are their own and not the views of The Hill.