What We Are Doing

On April 20th, Senators Diane Feinstein (CA) and Susan Collins (ME) introduced S. 1014, The Personal Care Products Safety Act. The bill was drafted to update The Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 and is intended to give FDA more funding and oversight over the cosmetic industry.

The HSCG has been involved in legislative advocacy at the Federal level since 2008, when it first became known that Congress was interested in updating the current regulations that govern the cosmetic industry. Since 20101, our association has been under contract with a DC Advocate who acts on our behalf and with us to represent the interests of the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry. We frequently attend meetings with Members of Congress to raise awareness about the HSCG, the industry and the businesses that make it up. At every meeting we try to share samples of handcrafted soap and cosmetics.

In the Fall of 2014, we became aware that Senator Feinstein (D-CA) was interested in introducing a bill aimed at updating current cosmetic regulations. We subsequently had numerous in-person and phone meetings with staff from both Senators Feinstein and Collins offices to go over the bill language and to provide information on the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry.

HSCG cannot support proposed legislation as written

In March of 2015, we sent Senators Feinstein and Collins a letter stating that we were unable to support the proposed legislation as there were not sufficient or reasonable small business provisions in place. As currently drafted, the bill would seriously hurt the hardworking entrepreneurs of the industry by hitting them with overly burdensome fees, reporting and paperwork requirements while doing little to increase consumer safety.

When the The Personal Care Products Safety Act was released, we issued a press release stating our position on the bill.

Meetings and more meetings

Since the bill's release, we have met with all 20 Members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, where the bill was introduced and all 19 members of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (SBC). These meetings have proven to be integral in getting our message out about the detrimental effects this piece of legislation would have on our industry.

In late 2014, we decided to focus our energies on the SBC. Over the ensuing year we had numerous meetings with Chairman Vitter's office and committee staff in which we stressed our concerns about the effect this bill would have on our small businesses.

Chairman Vitter sends "Dear Colleague" letter

Chairman Vitter felt so strongly about our issues that he wrote a "Dear Colleague" letter which was sent to the HELP Committee Chairman, Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member, Patty Murray, as well as to the bill sponsors, Senator Feinstein and Senator Collins.
"... I oppose this legislation it its current form, and would need to see substantial modifications and improvements to the relevant provisions before agreeing to support it." -- Senator David Vitter

The handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry in the United States is made up of over 300,000 small and emerging businesses in all fifty states. A large portion of these businesses are women owned and operated and they produce safe soap and cosmetics. The HSCG supports safe cosmetics and helps to educate the membership and the industry on the current regulations governing cosmetics. We feel strongly that any new legislation aimed at updating the current regulations must take into consideration these small and emerging businesses and provide adequate provisions for them to be able to continue to thrive and be assets to their communities and local economies.

Chairman Vitter's letter and his support of our industry and small businesses is a great stride forward for our legislative advocacy. The HSCG, along with our DC Advocate, Debra Carnahan of Carnahan Global Consulting, will continue to meet with Members of Congress to make them aware of how this legislation (if passed) would adversely affect the small businesses of the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry.

If you have any questions about The Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Act or about our advocacy efforts, please contact our Executive Director at any time.


Notes:

1 We have had a DC advocate constinuously since 2010, with the exception of part of 2012.