US questions cosmetic regulations after WEN hair loss fiascoWe’ve already covered the trials and tribulations of WEN – the Chaz Dean Studio range of treatments, crèmes and conditioners that claim to strengthen and repair hair that have been accused of doing far more harm than good. And the latest reports – from no less a journal than the New York Times – suggest that this story is going to become even more prominent.

Beauty lobbyists

After a whopping 21,000 people registered complaints that the products had actually caused hair loss, it turns out that Dean is part of a beauty care association that is aggressively lobbying the US Congress to block the passage of new laws that will give the all-powerful Food and Drug Administration the authority to test ingredients in all new products, and recall any products that don’t pass muster.

WEN: will it ever end?

Both sides – and their political backers – are gearing up for a long and arduous fight over this move, at a time of growing consumer concern about what they’re actually rubbing into their scalp. What’s more, there have been some proper scare stories emanating from the States, with the discovery of skin creams and hair products containing mercury and formaldehyde.

According to House Representative Frank Pallone Jr, Americans are only just becoming aware of how cosmetics are regulated – i.e., hardly at all. He’s one of the politicians who are pushing to regulate a law passed in 1938, which contained scant regulations on cosmetics.

The bill – that intends to force cosmetics companies to chip in towards a slush fund that would be used to test the ingredients of products and tightly regulate new, independent companies – is supported by almost all industry heavyweights, who fear that a decline in consumer confidence will put a dent in their sales.

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By Ian Watson

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