Cosmetics Regulation:

Information on Voluntary Actions Agreed to by FDA and the Industry

HRD-90-58: Published: Mar 13, 1990. Publicly Released: Apr 10, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) and a cosmetics industry association's actions to increase: (1) voluntary registration of cosmetics establishments; and (2) safety data and injury reporting by cosmetics manufacturers, packers, or distributors.

GAO found that: (1) FDA and the association took measures to encourage greater industry participation in the voluntary registration program, which included reducing paperwork and emphasizing the importance of registration at industry meetings, but could not accurately assess how many companies were avoiding participation or whether industry efforts resulted in increased reporting of safety testing; (2) the number of companies registered increased from 94 to 778 between 1988 and 1989; (3) many manufacturers lacked adequate data on safety tests and refused to disclose the results of the tests; (4) about 3 percent of an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 cosmetic distributors filed injury reports; and (5) FDA had no plans to conduct safety reviews or priority ranking of toxic chemicals.

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