It’s an election year, which means people are paying more attention than usual to the government’s role in their lives. But even though beauty isn’t exactly the most hotly debated topic among politicians, it turns out that when it comes to the safety of products, voters generally want the government involved—and overwhelmingly believe that regulatory agencies should step in.
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A new survey released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), polled 800 likely 2016 general election voters by phone—53 percent female and 47 percent male. When asked if they believe that the government already protects the safety of their personal care products, 37 percent were under the impression that the government had cleared most of the chemicals found in such products, and a total of 67 percent believed that at least some of the chemicals were cleared.
Unfortunately, they are wrong.
“Few consumers have any idea how minimal the current regulation of chemicals is,” says Scott Faber, vice president of government affairs at EWG. “No other class of products is so widely used, and in such large quantities, with so few safeguards.”
In a press call held by EWG, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) said that the EU has banned more than 1,300 chemicals from personal care products, versus the U.S., which has banned only 11 ingredients.
Along with Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), Feinstein is co-sponsoring a bi-partisian Personal Care Products Safety Act, which is awaiting hearings and would give the FDA the authority to review the safety of ingredients in personal care products.
“Under current law—a law that was passed in 1938—the Food and Drug Administration lacks the power to know when someone’s been injured by a product, or recall a product if they do know someone has been injured,” Faber says. “The FDA doesn’t know when a product is produced because companies are not required to tell them.”
More than two thirds of voters polled believed that “the government should make certain that chemicals that end up in my body from the use of personal care products, like makeup, toothpaste and lotions, are safe,” as compared to 28 percent who think “there are too many government regulations already. People should decide for themselves if they want to use personal care products without government interference.”
And when it comes to forced recalling of harmful products, almost all voters (87 percent) believed that the government should have the power to order a recall of personal care products containing toxic chemicals, and 94 percent believe that companies should be forced to notify the government if their products have injured consumers.
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