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Print Posted By Safe Cosmetics Australia on 02/16/2017 in Home & Health

Product Safety, how are products regulated?

Product Safety, how are products regulated?

Product safety has been the topic of debate for decades and remains insufficiently resolved. 

 “You can sell something without any evidence that it’s safe or effective.” Dr Pieter Cohen, Harvard Medical School. There is no effective system to determine the health and safety of products available on the Australian market, consumers need to demand mandatory testing of all chemicals and that health claims be backed by scientific evidence.

How are products regulated? Suppliers and manufacturers must ensure that their products meet acceptable levels of safety by meeting “requirements of mandatory standards and bans” as stated on the ACCC Australian Competition & Consumer Commission website. 

“Consumer product safety regulators monitor the safety of existing and new products on the market. When we find evidence that a consumer product has or could cause serious illness, injury or death we conduct investigations. Depending on the outcome of the investigations, we may issue a mandatory standard or ban designed to reduce risks for consumers. Most consumer products are safe when used appropriately. That is why relatively few of the many products on the market in Australia are covered by safety regulations.” – ACCC.

Why does Safe Cosmetics Australia consider product safety important? The fact that product safety is only addressed once the ACCC becomes aware of evidence concerning a product that could cause serious health issues, poses a significant health and safety risk to Australian consumers. Prevention should be the goal and this can be a reality if regulations are put in place to ensure that all chemicals meet strict health and safety testing, prior to permitting chemicals for use in the manufacture of personal care and household products. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – EWG Environmental Working Group

Why is it that products are not required to have mandatory testing before being sold? That is the big question. Why does the Australian Government allow products to be released onto the market without extensive testing of each and every ingredient, the combination of chemicals and the final product being tested before manufacture and sale to Australian consumers. Lack of funding, industry and government profits, and consumer demand are important factors as to why this issue remains unresolved.

The ACCC claims “Most consumer products are safe when used appropriately” yet health issues have risen dramatically over the last fifty years. From food to cosmetics to industry and pollution, the world is suffering from a lack of regulation when it comes to toxicity. The current regulations do not restrict companies from formulating products from chemicals that have been tested and scientifically proved safe to use. So what good is it if companies are permitted to use chemicals in cosmetic formulations that have not been tested for health and safety? Consumers can answer that question for themselves, it is a personal decision that concerns some people whilst it does not bother others. We have our certified Organic products that offer peace of mind and then mainstream products that remain unregulated. Safe Cosmetics Australia aims to raise awareness concerning product safety and provide a platform for products that exclude chemicals of concern.

What is the Australian Government doing? According to the TGA “No therapeutic product is ever completely risk free. Some risks may be known when a medicine or medical device is first entered on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). However, some information only comes to light after more people use the products.”

What could the Australian Government do? Implement a mandatory requirement that all products to be tested prior to sale by supplying a certificate of analysis that verifies the content of the product is what the label states.

David Fabricant PhD, CEO The Natural Products Association, advises Buyer Beware

The ACC & TGA regulate and administrate information concerning product safety. Some efforts are being made to address chemicals of concern, but to date issues such as formaldehyde in cosmetics and micro-particles have not been resolved. “The mandatory standard for ingredients labelling on cosmetics came into effect on 31 October 1993 and was last amended 23 May 2008. It covers labelling for cosmetics.” – TGA. 

The current view is that as long as the ingredients are stated on the label then consumers have been informed.

  • KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN, and
  • WARNING – This product contains ingredients which may cause skin irritation to certain individuals. A preliminary test according to the accompanying directions should be made before use. This product must not be used for dyeing eyelashes or eyebrows; to do so may be injurious to the eye.

This blanket statement above effectively passes any health and safety risk onto the unknowing consumer to carry out their own “preliminary test” before using a product.

Dr Herbert Bonkovsky from the Liver Injury Network says “It’s a dangerous thing to do, go against what nature intends” – just one of the reasons Safe Cosmetics Australia supports the use of natural & organic ingredients over synthetic man-made chemicals. View the Toxic Free List to find brands that support this philosophy by formulating natural products. 

What can Australian’s do? Consumers can demand health claims be backed by scientific evidence by choosing natural & organic, toxic-free products. Learn more about product safety by researching the following links to Government sites & data, then post your feedback by leaving a reply below.

Related Articles From Doctors, Scientists and Environmental Advocates:

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