My wife, Rena Henderson, is a cancer survivor who follows the FDA more than most. A local lawyer, Neil Shapiro, has a regular column in our local newspaper, the Monterey Herald, and it’s usually quite good. However, in his most recent column, he advocated giving the FDA more power over cosmetics. You can read his column here.

Rena wrote a letter to the editor and it ran today. Here it is:

Your columnist, Neil Shapiro, wants to give the Food and Drug Administration “some teeth.” The last thing we should do is sharpen the FDA’s fangs. Shapiro did give some excellent advice. Unfortunately, that advice was buried within some of the worst advice imaginable.

The good advice? If you want to know what’s in your cosmetics, go to The bad advice? Give the FDA even more power over our lives and our decisions about what to use in and on our bodies.

The FDA already prevents people who are dying of cancer from getting drugs that might help them. Why? Because it doesn’t have enough proof of the drugs’ efficacy and safety. Efficacy? Safety? If the FDA had two months to live, would it be willing to take a chance on something that might prolong its life?

So, by all means, take Shapiro’s advice: Go to the cosmetics database, read what’s in your cosmetics, and decide for yourself whether or not you want to use a product. We don’t need the government to make these decisions for us.

All I can say is thank you, Sam Farr [our local Congressman], for not supporting the Safe Cosmetics Act. It’s nice to see you protecting citizens’ rights.