Gregg Renfrew

“It has been 81 long years since Congress has passed any laws to make sure our beauty products are safe, and now is the time to act,” shared Gregg Renfrew, founder and chief executive officer of Beautycounter, in a statement to WWD.

Renfrew, a longtime advocate of clean beauty, testified Wednesday as an expert witness in a hearing on cosmetics reform held by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health in Washington, D.C.

“Beautycounter has proven that it’s possible to protect the health of our customers and of those around us while building a business,” continued Renfrew, who founded the company in 2013.

Direct-to-consumer Beautycounter has banned more than 1,500 ingredients from its own formulations, while the U.S. has banned 30, according to the skin-care and cosmetics brand, which aims to make clean beauty the standard in the industry. “Congress heard us loud and clear. Yesterday’s efforts are moving us in the right direction, and I look forward to continuing to work with members of Congress on this important piece of legislation,” Renfrew said.

Entitled “Building Consumer Confidence by Empowering FDA to Improve Cosmetic Safety,” the hearing, led by committee chairwoman Anna Eshoo and ranking member Michael Burgess, centered on the role of the Food and Drug Administration in protecting consumers of cosmetics.

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“The current absence of modern, federal safety regulations governing the beauty industry force businesses like Beautycounter to make their own determinations about the safety of products,” said Renfrew, who’s based in Santa Monica, Calif., at the hearing. “And though mission-driven companies are integral to social innovation, there is inherent risk of comprehensive change not being adopted in the absence of legislative reform….We believe that how Congress defines what is safe is one of the most important elements of reform. By creating a strong safety standard in this bill, Congress has the opportunity to protect the health of American families, while making sure that our business community is keeping pace with international markets, many of whom have long demanded greater oversight of ingredients.”

Legislation introduced earlier this year includes the Cosmetic Safety Enhancement Act of 2019 and Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2019, both created to protect users of cosmetics. But as it stands, federal law doesn’t demand for cosmetics ingredients, other than color additives, to have the approval of the FDA before hitting the market.

“The industry looks very different than it did in 1938 when FDA was given regulatory authority over cosmetics,” Dr. Susan Mayne, director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the FDA, said during the hearing. “These changes help bring new opportunities and choices to consumers. There are now more varieties of cosmetic products available to consumers than ever before, and consumers enjoy this wide variety of cosmetic products offered at many price points. We are aware of estimates that the U.S. cosmetics industry may be larger than $80 billion in terms of annual sales. But at the same time, our authority over cosmetics has not modernized even as the industry has undergone rapid evolution.”

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