The Eagleton Bill


In 1973, Missouri Senator Thomas F. Eagleton introduced a landmark bill that proposed sweeping changes to the federal oversight of the cosmetics industry. Eagleton's bill became the focus of CTFA activity for the next four years.

Specifically, the bill mandated: (1) pre-market clearance of cosmetics by FDA and the establishment of specific tests that the industry would be required to perform prior to marketing a product; (2) deletion of both the soap and hair dye exemptions of the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act; (3) mandatory registration of cosmetic products; (4) detailed ingredient labeling requirements; (5) compiling and maintaining consumer complaints; and (6) expanding FDA access to company records.

CTFA strongly opposed this attempt to remove the self-regulatory status of the cosmetic industry.

During hearings held by Senator Edward Kennedy of the Subcommittee on Health, CTFA Chairman Dick Edmondson testified that the bill would cause "a serious misallocation of the nation's scientific resources and disrupt congressionally established priorities for protecting public health—with unusually severe impact on small manufacturers."

The convergence of the Eagleton legislation with the FDA's petition to require cosmetic labeling under the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act presented a dilemma for CTFA.

Not wanting to appear to oppose both the consumer's right to know with regard to ingredient labeling and the perceived pro-consumer provisions of the Eagleton bill, CTFA decided to work with FDA to develop a regulation on ingredient labeling upon which both sides could agree.

The regulation, issued in November 1975, included a provision requiring manufacturers to either substantiate the safety of their product or include a warning statement that the product's safety had not been determined.

Although the Eagleton bill ultimately passed the Senate in 1976, a House version of the bill was not considered.