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Consumer Safety

Data sought on cosmetics imported into US

by Britt Erickson
June 28, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 26


A powerful member of the US Congress is putting pressure on the Food and Drug Administration to boost government oversight of imported cosmetics and personal care products. The move comes in response to an announcement from the FDA that it has not inspected any imported cosmetics during this fiscal year and does not plan to do so in fiscal 2020. In a June 26 letter to the FDA, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, requests information about the number and kinds of personal care products imported into the US each year from fiscal 2017 to 2019, the number of such products subject to the FDA’s inspection, and the number that the FDA has intercepted because of contamination concerns. The letter follows up on a similar request Pallone made in 2016. At that time, the FDA examined less than 1% of imported cosmetics—and nearly 15% of imported cosmetics inspected by the agency were contaminated or contained illegal ingredients. The FDA noted in 2016 that imports of cosmetics doubled over the past decade.


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