Chemicals in cosmetics spur action by lawmakers

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SAN DIEGO -- Americans spend more than $50 billion every year on beauty and skin care products, but there's growing concern that some of the products could cause cancer. Now, a bipartisan group of lawmakers led by California's own Diane Feinstein are working to change that.

"A woman has to be her own advocate. Do your research. It’s real. The risks can be real," Dr. Tess Mauricio told FOX 5.

Mauricio points to formaldehyde and parabens, both common preservatives found in everything from makeup to hair dye. She sees a number of patients coming in with allergic reactions to both chemicals. Doctors say the risk is especially high for teens whose bodies are still developing.

"There is a potential hormone effect, an estrogen effect of parabens," she added.

Feinstein is now leading bipartisan legislation giving more power to the FDA. The organization would test whether those chemicals are being used at safe levels. If not, they can force a recall.

That's not the story in other countries. The European Union bans more than 1,000 chemicals from personal care products. Of those, the U.S. bans 11.

"Europe has a robust system, which includes consumer protections like product registration and ingredient reviews. I am pleased to be introducing this bipartisan legislation with Senator Collins that will require FDA to review chemicals used in these products and provide clear guidance on their safety," said Feinstein.

Feinstein said she expects the bill to pass, not only are legislators on both sides of the aisle supporting it, but so too is the industry.