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Petitioning The United States Food & Drug Administration

Accept cosmetic grade glitter as a color additive and set usage standards.

207
Supporters

Did you know that the glitter in your nail polish is, according to current FDA law, illegal? How about that glitter lip gloss or eye shadow? Yep, also illegal. The US FDA has not approved glitter as a cosmetic color additive, meaning that it is currently not legal to use glitter in any cosmetic formulation, even though most "cosmetic" glitter is made from ingredients that are currently approved for cosmetic use. So why are Major cosmetics companies still release products regularly that contain glitter, such as eyeliners, mascaras, lip gloss, and of course, nail polish?

All the information I've been able to gather points to a current policy of non-enforcement when it comes to glitter in cosmetics formulation. The FDA maintains that it is giving cosmetics formulators a "grace period" to respond, but it doesn't say how long the grace period is, or when it began. To add to the confusion, most companies (large and small) seem unaware that formulating with glitter is not an approved practice, and most consumers remain unaware of the issue.

As a consumer, I find this confusing because I can't find any record of "cosmetic glitter" being harmful. I also can't really remember a time when I didn't have glitter cosmetics in my own collection of makeup. I recently decided to do some research into glitter to see if there was reason to not include it in cosmetics formulation; this is a summary of what I found:

There are different types of glitter and not all glitter is manufactured with cosmetic use in mind, that said, of the companies producing glitter for cosmetic purposes, “cosmetic” glitter is made from sheets of plastic and/or metallic foils, specifically polyurethane terephthalate, or PET. This is the same plastic that single-use water bottles are made of. PET has been found repeatedly to be non-toxic, even if ingested. Polyurethane 33 is recognized by the FDA as a binding agent and is also classified as non-toxic. Aluminum features in many glitters, and is currently approved by the FDA for use in cosmetic formulations around the eye area (but not for use on lips). The films are tinted with colorants that are approved for cosmetic use, though some carry restrictions on the area of use (ie: sae for lips and nails, but not for use around the eyes; or safe for use around eyes, nails, but not approved for lips, etc.). These sheets of film are cut or shredded to create glitter, the most common sizes of glitter used in cosmetic formulations is .008” and below. .008” is about 203.2 microns. Micro glitter is .004” or 101.6 microns; a much smaller particle size than many color additives already approved for use in the eye area, like synthetic mica. Additionally, many manufacturers of “cosmetic glitter” attest that their products are approved for use in the European Union and are registered in the EU's REACH program.

I'm calling on the FDA to revisit its decision regarding the use of glitter in cosmetic formulations. I am asking that they re-evaluate “cosmetic glitter” as a color additive and add it to the list of approved color additives for cosmetics. I would also ask that they set safe usage guidelines for glitter manufacturers and cosmetic formulators regarding particle sizes and labeling practices in the interest of consumer safety and education.

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  • The United States Food & Drug Administration


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