Product Safety in the Marketplace

Safety Monitoring Continues Once Product is on Market:

Safety reassurance does not end once a product is placed in the marketplace. Once a product is launched, companies engage in ongoing, active monitoring of consumer experience to confirm product safety. Cosmetic and personal care product manufacturers have established post-market surveillance processes for the identification of potential safety issues related to their products. Such systems help to identify consumer use patterns, such as alternate uses or product combinations that may contribute to adverse events. These processes include regular surveys of consumer contacts received by a marketer or manufacturer either through toll-free 1-800 numbers on packages or direct correspondence. Trend analyses of contact data, including evaluations of frequency and severity of adverse events, as well as comparison of these trends with historical information for other comparable products, represent valuable mechanisms for identification of safety-related concerns. Although adverse reactions that are both serious and unexpected are extremely rare for cosmetic and personal care products, manufacturers must report knowledge of any instances of serious product reactions to the Federal Food and Drug Administration.

The Scientists Behind Product Safety:

Scientists that are specially trained in many different disciplines are involved in the design, development, and manufacture of cosmetic and personal care products, including chemistry and biochemistry, microbiology, molecular modeling, engineering, formulation science, technical packaging, and toxicology. While the activity of each of these scientists contributes to the safety profile of cosmetic and personal care products, it is the specific role of the toxicologist to design and interpret the tests that assess the safety of cosmetic and personal care products and their ingredients.

Some of the scientists involved in the product development and safety process, and their roles, include:
  • Toxicologists, who evaluate ingredients and finished products to establish their safety for consumers during usage.
  • Microbiologists, who establish product preservation requirements and monitor manufacturing to ensure finished product integrity (For more information on Preservatives)
  • Analytical Chemists, who perform chemical evaluations of ingredients and finished products, to determine purity and other properties
  • Formulators, who develop new and improved products and set product standards and specifications
  • Science Information Specialists, who retrieve information, including scientific articles and patents, relevant to product development and safety
  • Manufacturing engineers, who develop manufacturing procedures and oversee production of the final product
  • Technical Packaging Specialists, who create improved ways of applying, dispensing and packaging products
  • Quality Assurance Professionals, who test components and products to meet ingredient and finished product specifications
  • Regulatory Specialists, who ensure that a product meets all labeling requirements and is in compliance with all governmental regulations
  • Consumer Affairs Professionals, who conduct consumer research and testing prior to product marketing and track issues that may arise following product marketing