By Valenti Organics’ Fruitless Quest For Lead-Free Pigments: A Case Study
This article was originally published in The Rose Sheet
The Environmental Working Group is not letting up in its push for FDA to recognize that no amount of lead in cosmetics is safe for consumers. However, a less tolerant regulatory stance on trace lead levels could be a de facto ban on whole categories of products, as By Valenti Organics discovered in its elusive search for “lead-free” pigments.
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Lead acetate’s use as a color additive in cosmetic products will no longer be authorized in the US beginning on 6 January 2022, and the agency will exercise enforcement discretion for a year afterward. A 2018 hearing request from hair dye marketer Combe Inc. was denied by the agency on 7 October.
The Toxic Free Cosmetics Act would make products adulterated under California law if they contain asbestos, lead or any one of a slew of intentionally added ingredients, most of them preservatives. The bill could be industry’s biggest legislative battle over the 2019-2020 period.
FDA’s final rule is specific to lead acetate’s use in hair-coloring products, but the agency’s recognition of current consensus – “that there is no safe exposure level for lead” – could spook the wider cosmetics industry, particularly given that some of the same NGO petitioners that drove the rulemaking are clamoring for an all-out ban on trace lead in lipsticks and externally applied cosmetics.