ANA Speaks Up About Dangerous Chemicals

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The American Nurses Association (ANA) provided comments to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over concerns about the safety of cosmetic and personal products at a public meeting this week. ANA urged the FDA to consider several restrictions on cosmetics and personal products at the upcoming International Cooperation on Cosmetics Regulations (ICCR) meeting scheduled for June 28 through July 1.

At issue is the current U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, which fails to require the identification of many ingredients often simply labeled as proprietary or ‘professional use only,’ or both. ANA argued that this is a dangerous practice, as these products are often applied directly to human skin, hair, and nails. ANA expressed concerns that a health care professional could not properly provide care should a patient experience a reaction to a cosmetic for which the ingredient identification was not available. ANA expressed similar concerns that health care professionals could not identify the risks should a child or impaired adult consume a cosmetic of indeterminate ingredients.

ANA called on the FDA to consider the following changes in its work with the ICCR:

  1. Stricter labeling that requires all ingredients, “proprietary” or not, to be listed on labels. This disclosure includes any fragrances and flavorings.
  2. Remove harmful chemicals from cosmetics and personal care products and replace them with a safe alternative.
  3. Require pre-market safety testing for carcinogenicity and reproductive hazards, while continuing testing for skin irritation, allergenicity, and sensitivities.
  4. Support industry research that results in the development of safe cosmetics and personal care products.
  5. Create streamlined methods for removal from the market unsafe cosmetics and personal care products.

The manufacture and use of chemicals in the modern world can have significant adverse effects on human health. People come in contact with potentially harmful chemicals, products, pollutants, and hazards on a daily basis, both in the workplace and in their community. This is why ANA advocates for the right of nurses and other health professionals, patients, and communities to have relevant and timely information about the potentially harmful products to which they are exposed.

To learn more about ANA’s environmental efforts please visit ANA's environmental health site.