Product Safety Monitoring Continues Even After Sale
The commitment to safety and quality doesn’t end when a product is available for sale. Regulators and manufacturers constantly monitor the marketplace for reports of unexpected reactions to a product and other consumer feedback to make sure products – in stores, online and in your home – meet your expectations for safety and high quality.
Cosmetics and personal care product companies have established post-market surveillance processes for the identification of potential safety issues related to their products. Such systems help 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 identifying safety-related concerns. Although serious and unexpected adverse reactions to cosmetics and personal care products are extremely rare, manufacturers must report knowledge of any such instances to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), via the Adverse Events Reporting System.
The Scientists Behind Product Safety
Numerous specially trained scientists are involved in the design, development and manufacture of cosmetics and personal care products, including:
Some of the scientists involved in the product development and safety process 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
- 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, such as 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 products meet all labeling requirements and comply with all governmental regulations
- Consumer affairs professionals, who conduct consumer research and testing prior to product marketing and track issues that may arise
While each of these scientists contributes to the safety profile of cosmetics and personal care products, it is the specific role of the toxicologist to design and interpret the tests that assess the safety of products and their ingredients.