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April 30 2015

FDA to Further Regulate Homemade Soap and Other Personal Care Products

Julie Gunlock

Big corporations often boohoo about crushing government regulations, which make it tough for them to do business and leads to job losses. But of course, they change their tune the instant these government regulations benefit their bottom line or hurt their competition--usually the little guy trying to compete. Consider Senators Diane Feinstein and Susan Collins' bill that will empower the Food and Drug Administration to put those who make homemade soap and other small-scale personal care products out of business. 

That's one brave, brave move to crack down on stay at home moms, crafty retirees, and sweet smelling nuns. It's a real profile in courage, Senators Collins and Feinstein.

Anyway, according to many news reports on the issue, the bill is being promoted as a cosmetics safety act. Headlines like "women put 168 chemicals in their bodies" and suggestions that this bill will make these products safer are meant to make women feel nervous about the products they currently use and lead them to believe the industry needs regulations. But that's nonsense. First of all, women are not stupid. They know that lipstick isn't made out of flower petals and bottled baby blushes. They get it that chemicals are used to help keep these products fresh and free from bacteria. And most women know that cosmetic companies test their products for safety before they go to market. After all, it's common sense that cosmetic companies have no incentive to stock dangerous items. It's called a lawsuit, and companies work very hard to avoid them by ensuring thier products are safe.

But of course sometimes these larger companies don't really care when Washington begins to bark about the need for regulations because it's easy for them to comply with the regulations. They have employees dedicated to figuring out how to comply with new regulations and lawyers on retainer to make sure it happens. This likely explains why some major soap and cosmetic companies are supporting the bill. Companies like Proctor and Gamble, Johnson and Johnson, Revlon and higher end makeup brands like Esteee Lauder, Clinique, Origins, La Mer, Bobbi Brown, Mac and Aveda.

Yet, the little guy--the competition--often works on a shoestring and doesn't have the support or robust finances to endure these regulations. And so these companies are often the ones really hurt by these unnecessary regulations.

But for Big Soap and Big Cosmetics, this just narrows the field of competition. Thanks Washington! These companies didn't have to lower their prices or improve their products or do a better marketing campaign or even throw in a free tote bag with the purchase of foundation and lip gloss to get consumers to purchase their products. Nope, these companies can simply rely on Senators Feinstein and Collins to create a nifty piece of legislation that will wipe out all those small-scale and start-up companies by burying them under a mountain of new rules and paperwork. 

That's how crony capitalism works. Good for big business, bad for consumers and the little guy.

Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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