If you have sensitive skin, you may look for products with the words ‘hypoallergenic’ or ‘allergy tested’ or even ‘dermatologist tested’ on the label. But what do these terms really mean? Not much, according to the FDA
What does the law say?
In 1974, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed regulation on the term hypoallergenic in cosmetics, saying that the term would only be allowed if manufacturers could provide competent and reliable scientific evidence that their hypoallergenic products caused fewer allergic reactions than similar non-hypoallergenic products. Cosmetics companies complained that the testing involved in following this regulation would pose an undue economic burden on them (i.e., they didn’t want to shell out the cash for it). The regulation passed, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia eventually struck it down after Almay and Clinique challenged it.
Thus, there is no standard definition for the terms hypoallergenic, allergy tested, dermatologist tested, or dermatologist recommended. No standard definition = cosmetics companies can say it means whatever they want it to mean. After all, there is someone (or something, cue Twilight Zone music) out there, theoretically, who won’t react to a nice plutonium-based cleanser (the results on your pores are absolutely nuclear, darling!).
Why is it so hard to define?
Part of the difficulty with the term hypoallergenic is that people can have skin sensitivity for very different reasons. What irritates someone with rosacea may be very different from what irritates someone with acne, or very different from an ingredient that can irritate someone with ragweed allergies. The American Academy of Dermatology has a great guide to ingredients that may trouble people with certain skin conditions.
What can you look out for?
If a specific product seems to be consistently bothering you, check the ingredients list. Is there a particular ingredient in that product that is not in other non-irritating products? Eliminate that product from your regimen for a while, and try another product with the same suspect ingredient (but no other suspect ingredients). Did you suffer the same reaction again? Hello, science! You might have found the culprit.
Here are a few common ones you may want to pay attention to…
“Hypoallergenic” is meaningless on a label, but it may mean something for you. The Environmental Working Group and The Cosmetics Cop are two good places to begin researching specific cosmetics ingredients, and from there you just have to proceed by trial and error.
NSEL said these five defaulting members did not have adequate commodities in the warehouses, which is against the mechanism specified in the Exchange circulars
National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL) said it has filed complaint against five of its defaulting members before the investigation authorities.
In a statement, NSEL said it declared its nine members as defaulters when they did not complete the last pay-in. "Amongst these nine defaulting members, the exchange has initiated case for investigation against five defaulting members who did not have adequate commodities in the warehouses, which is against the mechanism specified in the Exchange circulars. Non-delivery of commodities or its withdrawal is a breach of faith and breach of contractual arrangements," the release said.
The five defaulters against which NSEL has filed complained are, Ark Imports Pvt Ltd, Lotus Refineries Pvt Ltd, NK Proteins Ltd, Vimladevi Agrotech Ltd and Yathuri Associates. The four other announced defaulters are Loil Overseas Foods Ltd, NCS Sugars Ltd, Spin Cot Textiles Pvt Ltd and Tavishi Enterprises Pvt Ltd.
As per the rules and bye-laws, the Exchange has asked these defaulting members to submit their books of accounts and hand-over all the collaterals to NSEL.
NSEL has appointed SGS to carry out quality and quantity inspection of the commodities lying in the warehouses and their reports are being received in stages based on the inspection being done.
NSEL said it will also take similar recourse for other defaulting members who are not cooperating. As informed earlier, the NSEL board has already initiated investigation against the management team and its former managing director and chief executive.
Given the recent corporate scandals there has been a greater focus on better corporate governance and transparency in the new Companies Bill with stricter punitive action. However, its effectiveness would be known only when the provisions come into force
“The new Companies Bill has brought in a lot of transparency by making companies disseminate information in a clear and transparent manner,” says Savithri Parekh, Head of Legal & Secretarial, Pidilite Industries at a Moneylife Foundation event. There have been substantial changes in the restructuring provisions with greater focus on disclosure and compliances. The Bill provides for greater autonomy for the companies to function, more of self-regulation, greater responsibility of the board and directors, and focus on compliance. “Many of the new provisions in the new version of the Companies Bill 2012 have been made because of two major incidents, one is the Satyam scam and the other is that of Sahara,” said Jayant Thakur, Chartered Accountant, who advises listed and non listed companies and intermediaries on SEBI laws. “These two incidents raised many questions with the provisions of the existing law such as that of independent directors, voting powers etc. and how could the shareholders be compensated for the losses. All this has led to new provisions such as that of class action suits,” explained Mr Thakur speaking at the same event.
But much depends on the timing of the Bill when it would come into force. “In the last 10-15 years, many of the laws relating to corporate bodies have a provision that they will come into effect partly or wholly on notification. Therefore, the whole act may not come into effect immediately. For example, going eleven years back, the Companies Amendment Act 2002, has still not come into effect wholly, because there are certain provisions that have come into effect and certain provisions that have not come into effect. Much this is because of litigation or the way the laws have been framed. Here again, in the present Bill, some of the sections may come into force on a phased basis,” said Mr Thakur
In terms of disclosures, says Ms Parekh, “the annual return filed by the company would need to contain details of the remuneration of the directors and key management personnel, penalty or punishment imposed, certification of compliances and other details like shares held by foreign investors etc.” The Directors Report would contain enhanced disclosures such as number of meetings of the board, policy on Directors’ appointment, remuneration including qualification, positive attributes, independence and other matters, particulars of loans guarantee and investments and details about CSR policy and initiatives. Though some of the disclosures were available in other parts of the Company’s Annual Report, now, the shareholders would find this information in only one place.
While the earlier Act had no provisions on insider trading, under the new Act insider trading is prohibited and penal provisions under the corporate laws will also be applicable. The guilty would be subject to imprisonment up to 5 years or fine of minimum Rs. 5 lakhs and maximum Rs25 crores or three times amount of profits or both. However, the issue in this provision as pointed out by Ms Parekh is ‘price sensitive information’ is not clearly defined. There are only examples of price sensitive information that is given in clause 36 of the Listing Agreement.
One of the important introductions in the Companies Bill is that of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) which has been mandated for all companies. “Well managed companies like the Tata’s, Nestle etc. spend anywhere between 1.2% and 3.5% of their profits on CSR activities,” explained Ms Parekh. The new bill mandates a compulsory expenditure of 2% of average net profit of the last three years. Activities cannot be conducted in remote areas, but in the local areas where the company operates. Details of the activities and the location need to be disclosed as well.
Under the Companies Bill, if anyone (officers, directors, independent Directors, auditors) commits a fraud, they would go for a minimum imprisonment of six months and up to 10 years. And if the public interest is affected in the fraud, the minimum imprisonment is three years. “Fraud is very widely defined,” said Mr Thakur. Statements under oath, mis-statements in prospectus, mis-statements in share sale/purchase agreements, mis-statements in projections, etc. for obtaining bank credit, making multiple share applications and fraudulently issuing duplicate shares are some violations treated as fraud.
For the first time, a provision has been made for class action suits. It is provided that specified number of members, depositors or any class of them, may, if they are of the opinion that the management or control of the affairs of the company are being conducted in a manner prejudicial to the interests of the company or its members or depositors, file an application before the Tribunal on behalf of the members or depositors. Knowing the limitation of individual investors to fight against a company’s might, many a company has taken them for granted. To overcome this weakness in the law, the Companies Bill has now proposed a new Clause 37 that provides for action by a group of shareholders. The session ended with some searching questions from the audience.