In today’s marketplace, people in Orange County have thousands of choices when it comes to buying personal care products. Manufacturers seem to pop up every day, touting their newest toothpaste, lotion, or shampoo and how that product can revolutionize a person’s life.
Given the wide variety and availability of these personal care products, many consumers probably believe that some government agency is watching over them to ensure that these products are not harmful. However, that assumption is not correct. The Food and Drug Administration is legally powerless to do much in the way of regulating these products. In fact, the FDA does not even require that manufacturers or designers safety test these personal care products before selling them to consumers.
An organization called the Environmental Working Group has tested many of these products in an attempt to discern whether they are safe for consumers. In its database of more than 6,300 products, the Environmental Working Group verified only about 400 as safe. A spokeswoman for the group noted that many of the companies behind these products advertise them as being “natural,” as if that is the key to ensuring their safety. But, she said that not all natural ingredients are safe. As an extreme example, she explained that poison ivy is a natural product, but nobody would want to rub that all over their skin.
Regardless of whether a government watchdog has power to regulate these products, their makers may be legally liable for any injuries that the products cause to people. Any time that manufacturing or design negligence leads to consumer injury, a victim can pursue a products liability claim.
At some point, legislators may enact laws that require more stringent regulation of personal care products. In the meantime, consumers can take legal action in an attempt to hold these products’ makers legally responsible for their failure to produce and sell safe products.
Source: WNYT, “In Depth: Protecting consumers from dangerous personal care products,” Benita Zahn, Sep. 15, 2016