Under What Circumstances, If Any, Should Us Fad Laws and Regulations Regarding Chemicals Used in Cosmetics and Skincare Be Abolished, Changed, or Remain the Same?
A change in FDA's legal authority over cosmetics would require Congress to change the law. The FD&C Act defines cosmetics by their intended use, as "articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body...for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance". Among the products included in this definition are skin moisturizers, perfumes, lipsticks, fingernail polishes, eye and facial makeup, cleansing shampoos, permanent waves, hair colors, and deodorants, as well as any substance intended for use as a component of a cosmetic product. It does not include soap.
Some exposures have even been shown to be toxic to certain species at high enough concentrations. This paper looked at four main classes of chemicals, phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and fragrances, in personal care products. Many of these chemicals are known endocrine disruptors, and appear in personal care products or the environment at hormone relevant concentrations, leading to adverse neurological, developmental, or sexual developmental effects, which can be extremely detrimental to a fetus or to younger organisms. Determining the fate of these chemicals in the environment and the rates of exposure are crucial to fully understanding the overall safety and environmental effects of these chemicals, and for providing more complete information for consumers on the personal care products they choose to buy and use everyday.
This is ensured by chemical, physical, or physicochemical strategies (Orth D.S., 1993). The most common strategy is based on the application of antimicrobial agents, either by using synthetic or natural compounds, or even multifunctional ingredients. Current validation of a preservation system follow the application of good manufacturing practices (GMPs), the control of the raw material, and the verification of the preservative effect by suitable methodologies, including the challenge test. Among the preservatives described in the positive lists of regulations, there are parabens, isothiasolinone, organic acids, formaldehyde releasers, triclosan, and chlorhexidine. These chemical agents have different mechanisms of antimicrobial action, depending on their chemical structure and functional group’s reactivity (Drewry D.T., Galbraith L., 1990). Preservatives act on several cell targets; however, they might present toxic effects to the consumer. Indeed, their use at high concentrations is more effective from the preservation viewpoint being, however, toxic for the consumer, whereas at low concentrations microbial resistance can develop.
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Hodges N.A., Denyer S.P., Hanlon G.W., Reynolds J.P. Preservative efficacy tests in formulated nasal products: Reproducibility and factors affecting preservative activity. J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 1996;48:1237–1242.
Drewry D.T., Galbraith L., Wilkinson B.J., Wilkinson S.G. Staphylococcal slime: A cautionary tale. J. Clin. Microbiol. 1990