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Update On Today’s Cosmetics Hearings In Massachusetts

If you are not familiar with the Massachusetts cosmetics legislation, read here and here. Today’s hearings concluded mid-afternoon. So far, I have received two reports from IBN members who were in attendance and testified: Susan Mann of Manor Hall Soap Co. and Deb Scanlan of Grace Farm Organics.

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In the photo, you can see left to right (with their backs to the camera): Susan Mann, an unidentified person (so far, at least), Marla Bosworth, and Deb Scanlan. (Photo credit: Nunzio Bruno.) In addition to Susan and Deb, several others testified including representatives from the Campaign For Safe Cosmetics, Personal Care Products Council and also IBN member Marla Bosworth of Back Porch Soap Co., whom I understand testified on behalf of her company as well as on behalf of the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild. Here’s more …

My update from Deb was brief, but she told me the hearings went well and she was happy for a chance to share her perspective on the bill as a small cosmetics manufacturer. Susan provided a few more details and I wanted to share some of them with you. Here are the four main points Susan made in her testimony today.

  1. Ingredient labeling. Susan showed an example of what a label for a 2-ounce jar of cream would look like — several paragraphs long — if the bill passes as drafted. She used data collected from this Essential Wholesale blog post to make her point on this topic.

    I understand this made quite an impression, as she opened a 2-ounce jar and removed a long piece of paper containing the ingredient label.

  2. Pending federal legislation. Susan testified that since the FDA currently regulates cosmetics, and since The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 (which addresses the same issues as the Massachusetts bill) is now pending in Congress, lawmakers should not rush to pass a state law when the existing federal law and one under consideration would serve the same purpose.
  3. Composition of the Commission on Safe Cosmetics. Susan pointed out that, if the Commission on Safe Cosmetics called for in the bill was required to include a signatory to the Compact For Safe Cosmetics, it should also contain a small cosmetics manufacturer who is not affiliated with the Compact.
  4. Explore need for legislation in advance of drafting it. Susan suggested that introducing legislation before the Commission studies and reports on the actual need for legislation is putting the cart before the horse. She testified that exploring the current state of science and the industry should come first.

I have a call into the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Health to request a transcript or audio recording of the proceedings so I can share more precise information with you. Meanwhile, I look forward to updates by those in attendance (including Nunzio Bruno, a staunch supporter of small businesses and whose company, Financially Digital, provides business coaching and consulting services to small businesses in Massachusetts) so we can benefit from their experiences and impressions too.

Thanks to Susan, Deb, Marla and everyone who took time from their busy schedules today to speak for small businesses!

To join hundreds of other small businesses who are keeping up with the latest on what's happening (or may be happening) in your state, join the State Cosmetics Laws FaceBook Page.

Advocacy continues, and as I discover new information, I will update you.

Views: 129

Tags: cosmetics, legislation, massachusetts, states


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Comment by dM, CEO on September 14, 2011 at 3:24pm
Just found out that another IBN member was there too! Jedwards Oil, from Massachusetts! Not sure if they testified or not ... they're a bulk oil supplier so if you need some oil, check them out!
Comment by Sara Nesbitt on September 14, 2011 at 7:33am
Wow, Susan!  Nothing like a strong visual image to get a point across.  The sponsors of the SCA should see that, too.
Comment by dM, CEO on September 14, 2011 at 7:25am
Oh my goodness, Susan! What a fantastic illustration, holding up that label! I hear you made quite an impression too. Nice job!
Comment by Mary Humphrey on September 14, 2011 at 7:11am

Thank you to Susan, Marla and Deb for your dedication and support. 


Point #3, a small cosmetics manufacturer should most definitely be included that is not affliated with the Compact.  I have seen commissions formed that are state-based, those that seem to not represent people as a whole, that end up not able to work with (or for) a variety of needs.  I often wonder how the members were chosen for the seats. 


Thank you, Donna Maria, for keeping us informed. 





Comment by Susan Mann - Manor Hall Soap on September 13, 2011 at 9:22pm

What the gallery saw. And the Committee. Four foot, seven inches long, the ingredients listing for a simple pot of creme made with three ingredients. Olive oil, cocoa butter and lavender essential oil. Huge thanks to Kayla of Essential Wholesale for taking the time to put us all to the wise. Kayla, you rock!



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