Safety of Cosmetics
Urgent Requirement to Implement Regulatory Laws
With the increasing demand for cosmetics and with rising purchasing power and growing fashion consciousness, a lot Cosmetics brands are readily available in the form of creams, lotions, perfumes, shampoos, etc.
The cosmetic industry is one of the fastest growing in India, Cosmetic giants are leaving no stone unturned to cash in on this opportunity and are roping in Bollywood superstars as advocates of their products. Economics of cosmetic industry is dependent on the type of advertisement, and nature of image they sell. As a matter of fact, more amount is spent on the advertisement as compared to its quality control. We need to take a look at our dressing table and be sure those cosmetics are safe to use?
A study by Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment shows that most cosmetics in India are tainted with toxic heavy metals. Even the best brands sometimes do not make safe cosmetics. Many people may not realize how many harmful substances are present in the cosmetics, from the toothpaste in the morning to makeup wipes they use at night. The safety of cosmetic products is of prime importance. Globally Cosmetic products are now considered no less than pharmaceutical products.
In India cosmetics are exempted from any sales license, provided that the cosmetics, if of Indian origin, are manufactured by the licensed manufacturers. But there is a prohibition on the manufacture and sale of certain cosmetics as prescribed under The Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 and rules framed there under. A person licensed to manufacture cosmetics should comply with the conditions, as specified in schedule M-II of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 and Rules 1945. Manner of labeling for cosmetics is also specified. Unfortunately, cosmetic regulations are not very strictly followed.
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In India clearer guidelines are required. It should not be forgotten that use of a spurious or irrationally produced cosmetic product could seriously harm different parts of the human body. Recent media reports about a consumer complaint against Johnson and Johnson’s Baby Oil has adequately attracted the public attention to the safety issues of cosmetics in country. Many Complaints from consumers, like in the Johnson and Johnson case, bring to fore that there is certainly a need to look at the adequacy of existing rules on cosmetics and their proper implementation.
Since there is not system of granting premarket approval for cosmetics in India, as it is done in case of medicines, companies producing cosmetics and toiletry preparations are marketing them without any toxicity studies and clinical trials. Cosmetic products labeled as Baby products are extremely expensive as compared to the traditional products. Aggressive promotion using print and electronic media have resulted in these products making deep inroads into the psyche of the largest group, viz., the mothers and young parents.
There is a strong requirement for implementation and enforcement of provisions of Drugs and Cosmetic Act 1940 and Rules 1945 in the country which will cover the sale, manufacture, import and labeling of cosmetics. In order to have reasonable safety for cosmetic products, it is also now realized that certain new standards should be laid down to test for the safety of ingredients added in cosmetic products, specially, baby cosmetics. Currently, the list of ingredients listed under GNRAS (Generally Not Recognized As Safe) of Bureau of Indian Standards, needs to be reviewed.
The stalwarts of cosmetics industry and regulatory bodies should come forward and unite to develop a fresh list of dangerous or harmful ingredients on the lines of ‘Hot List’29 of European Directives of the European Union. Such information should also be made available to the general public. Exaggerated and misleading label claims on cosmetics, especially with naturals and for fairness creams, is one area where urgent regulatory intervention is called for.
A cosmetic product with a therapeutic claim must be scientifically proven safe and effective for its claims, especially antidandruff shampoos, before they are permitted to be marketed. There should also be clear warning statements on labels even if there is a small chance of a problem. It is the consumers right to information. In case of a grievance, the consumer should feel free to take help of the enforcement agencies.
Disclaimer: This is the personal opinion of the writer and anyone may have a different opinion about this product and will not attract any legal implication.