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Day 315: Don't Allow the FDA to Take Away Your Handcrafted Skin Care Products

There's a new bill in congress as we speak called the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 (H.R. 5786). On the surface, it sounds great -- who doesn't want to know their cosmetics are safe?

When you look further into the language, though, it is clear that it will put a huge burden on small-scale crafters and natural skin care producers to the point that many will be effectively "run out" of business.

Under this bill, companies must register with the FDA their product descriptions, ingredient listing for each product (including trace ingredients), as well as put this ingredient list on the packaging. Sounds OK, until you consider that even natural ingredients such as cocoa butter, sea salt, or water would need to have every trace ingredient listed.

This means instead of just "olive oil", every element that makes up olive oil would have to be listed in the ingredient list on the package. Over 38 trace ingredients are found in olive oil, so those ingredient lists would fill up quickly (and make it harder for consumers to read and decipher ingredient listings.

The name and contact number of each ingredient supplier the crafter uses must also be registered with the federal government. They must also
report every time they switch suppliers.

For instance, say you're a soap maker and you usually buy sweet almond oil from Bramble Berry. But From Nature with Love has a fabulous sale on sweet almond oil so you decide to buy from them this month. Under this new legislation, you would be required to report this change to the FDA.

Anyone who makes cosmetics will also be required to have testing done on their products and the ingredients they use. Small businesses will be required to invest in tests. These testing requirements haven't yet been decided and aren't spelled out in the bill.

This bill doesn't allow for an exemption for small business or even home crafters. Even those who just make a few bars of soap and pots of lip balm to sell at the local farmer's market will be subject to these new regulatory rules.

But it's not just the small-scale crafters who will bear the brunt of this new legislation. Their suppliers, their vendors, even the people who purchase these handmade products will be affected as well. You may very well end up paying much more for your favorite handcrafted products, or you'll lose them forever if the crafter is forced to close down her business.

Shouldn't we be emphasizing keeping people in business rather than making it difficult for the

Here's how you can help:
  1. Sign the petition to oppose H.R. 5786
  2. Write to your representatives and ask them to oppose this bill. You can find your representatives here.
  3. Vote "opposed" in the Open Congress poll. You will have to sign in, but it only takes a few seconds.
  4. Keep up with the latest news at www.oppossesca.com
  5. Ask your friends and family to oppose this bill as well.

I definitely support safe cosmetics, but I believe that small cosmetic crafters currently supply us with safe products and I don't see how this bill will improve upon that. Besides, I'm much more worried about the chemicals and toxins found in skin care products made by "big box" companies than the more natural alternatives handcrafted by a local artisan.


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