The FDA Doesn’t Actually Have The Power To Recall Cosmetics That Harm People
The manufacturers of medicines and medical products must send any adverse event reports they receive on to the FDA, but cosmetics aren’t as tightly regulated. The New York Times explains that a customer could report a serious injury or even a death that may be linked to a cosmetic product, and companies are under no obligation to report it to the government.
The FDA does have the power to recall products that are found to either be mislabeled or contaminated. If the product as labeled and intended causes problems for some users, there isn’t anything that the government can do.
There have been efforts to change this law in the past, and different types of cosmetic companies have separate lobbying organizations and favor different levels of regulation. Big companies like Estée Lauder, Procter & Gamble, and Johnson & Johnson favor a version that would require companies to pass adverse event reports on to the FDA, and would also give the FDA the power to recall products that are harmful.