Congress returns to Washington  from the August recess this week and among the bills that may come up for consideration between now and the end of the 1st session of the 112th Congress is H.R. 2359, the "Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011", introduced by Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-IL-9th) on June 24, 2011 and subsequently referred to the House Committees on Energy and Commerce and Education and the Workforce.

As that noted philosopher, wordsmith, catcher and manager of the New York Yankees and the New York MetsLawrence "Yogi" Berra once expressed, "It’s deja vu all over again."

H.R. 2359 is an only slightly changed version of H.R. 5786, the "Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010", introduced by Rep. Schakowsky on July 20, 2010 and referred to the same House Committees (the House Committee on Education and the Workforce was then known as the House Committee on Education and Labor) and discussed here on July 26, 2010.

The language affecting nanoparticles in cosmetics, section 613 in H.R. 2359, is the same as it was in section 618 of the previous bill:



    `(d) Labeling of Nanomaterials in Cosmetics- The Secretary may require that–


    `(1) minerals and other particulate ingredients be labeled as `nano-scale’ on a cosmetic ingredient label or list if not less than 1 percent of the ingredient particles in the cosmetic are 100 nanometers or smaller in not less than 1 dimension; and


    `(2) other ingredients in a cosmetic be designated with scale-specific information on a cosmetic ingredient label or list if such ingredients possess scale-specific hazard properties.

Similarly, the language of section 614 in H.R. 5786 is now part of section 615 in H.R. 2359:


    `(2) CONSIDERATION OF NANOMATERIALS- The Secretary shall–


    `(A) monitor developments in the scientific understanding from any adverse health effects related to the use of nanotechnology in the formulation of cosmetic (including progress in the standardization of testing methods and specific size definitions for nanomaterials); and


    `(B) consider scale specific hazard properties of ingredients when reviewing and evaluating the safety of cosmetics and ingredients under paragraph (1).


No hearings on H.R. 5786 were ever held, nor was it reported out of committee. No hearings are currently scheduled for H.R. 2359.