Regulation of the Marketing of Skin-Whitening Product
WHEREAS, Congress established the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") to promote public health by promptly and efficiently reviewing clinical research and taking appropriate action on the marketing of regulated products in a timely manner; and
WHEREAS, the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") search and review internet marketing sites for false, misleading, or unapproved cosmetic claims; and
WHEREAS, the FTC enforces the requirement for advertisers to substantiate objective claims in an ad before the advertiser runs the ad; and
WHEREAS, the FTC may act against advisements that cause substantial consumer harm that are not outweighed by a consumer or competitive benefit or where a consumer could not reasonably avoid the harm; and
WHEREAS, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act ("FDCA") prohibits "the introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of any food, drug, device, or cosmetic that is adulterated or misbranded,"; and
WHEREAS, many skin-whitening products contain hydroquinone, which works to lighten skin by reducing the amount of melanocytes in the skin over time"; and
WHEREAS, the active ingredient in a popular skin-whitening product in the Asian-American community, Fair and Lovely, is niacinamide; which is effective in lightening skin because it inhibits melanin production; and
WHEREAS, cosmetic companies use the words clear and bright to describe "happy" skin and similarly use the word "bright" in the name of hydroquinone containing skin lightening products; and
WHEREAS, advertisements for skin-lightening products either directly or implicitly assert that whiter skin results in success and prosperity; and
WHEREAS, cosmetic companies, in recognition of the fact that marketing of skin-whitening products perpetuates colorism, have announced plans to stop selling certain lines of skin whitening products or have announced plans to remove words such as, "white," "fairness," and "light" from its products; and
WHEREAS, the American Medical Association (''AMA") recognizes racism as a public health threat and includes cultural racism in its policies; and
WHEREAS, the AMA defines cultural racism as negative and harmful racial stereotypes portrayed in culturally shared media and experiences; and
WHEREAS, advertisements for skin-whitening products do not target the general population of the United States, but rather racial and ethnic communities; and
WHEREAS, studies have shown that long term discrimination on the basis of skin color has led to several mental disturbances and disorders, including disorders such as body dysmorphic disorder, anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression; and
WHEREAS, the pressure to have lighter skin that is perpetuated by marketing in the cosmetic industry is detrimental to the extent that it causes minority women to seek physically dangerous, and even illegal methods of skin lightening; and
WHEREAS, already banned skin lightening products that contain mercury are placed in minority communities, and are readily available, demonstrating that the marketing strategies of any skin lightening product, regardless of whether they are physically safe, could have detrimental psychological effects; and
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP demands that the FTC take action against cosmetic manufacturers that falsely advertise that utilization of their product will help the consumer obtain success, prosperity, or happiness.
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP demands that the FDA propose a rule to eliminate advertisements in the cosmetic industry that falsely correlate whiter/lighter skin with success, prosperity and happiness.
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP demands that the FDA require a warning label on skin-lightening products to prevent health hazards associated with colorism, a form of racism.