Everyone has a raunchy, guilty pleasure television show.

Some people love to binge “Real Housewives” with a bottle of wine, others pretend to start watching “Pawn Stars” because nothing else is on but are soon  six episodes deep laying on the couch covered in popcorn. For me, there’s always been “Keeping Up With The Kardashians (KUWTK)” and a scoop (or three) of Ben and Jerry’s.

Trust me — I’ve tried to kick the habit. I acknowledge that watching KUWTK might be worse than the reboot of “90210.” All the so-called “high-schoolers” look like they’re thirty, but, hey, at least they were smart enough not to put a sex-tape in the plot line.

Yet, the relationship between the Kardashian and Jenner sisters reminds me of mine with my own sister. We may fight a decent amount, but when it comes down to it, we’re always there for each other.

While I can throw goofy KUWTK one-liners here and there like, “Make ‘em strong Derek” or “Auntie Kris, look it’s me, Todd Kraines,” the Kardashians aren’t really  part of my daily life.

They are who I watch when I want a break from the things going on in my life.

So, when I started interning in D.C. this semester as part of Miami’s Inside Washington program, I never expected  the worlds of Calabasas and Capitol Hill to collide.

On April 24, the oldest of the Kardashian clan, Kourtney, came down to D.C. to discuss legislative reform in the cosmetics industry with House Representative Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey. The briefing, which took place in the  Rayburn House Office Building, was dubbed a “Cosmetics Safety Reform Discussion.”

Ironically (or not), the discussion was scheduled for the same day as Kardashian’s first makeup launch with sister, Kylie Jenner.

Oftentimes, staffers allow interns to choose which briefings they’re interested in attending, so I figured this particular one would have a line out the door.  Most Kardashian meet-and-greets cost over a hundred dollars, and this happened to be a rare free appearance. However, when I approached the door there was a small line of giddy intern girls and some staffers, but nothing like the Zuckerberg or Scott Pruitt hearing lines.

Aside from a little fanfare, it was just like any other briefing on the hill, a representative or organization trying to push their agenda.

Rep. Pallone has been trying to update the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) outdated regulations for  the cosmetic industry.

At the briefing, attendees learned that currently, cosmetics are not required to be reviewed by the FDA before consumer marketing and cosmetic manufacturers do not have to report any negative effects of their products to the FDA.

Do you use Pantene shampoo or conditioner? How about Clinique BB Cream? What about that new NARS eyeshadow palette you just got?

Turns out those products and countless others feature some concerning and unsafe ingredients. From Propylparaben to Isobutane, many ingredients we use on a daily basis are harming not only the environment around us but our bodies as well.

Kardashian noted that as a working mom with three kids, like lots of mothers out there, she wants to make sure her children stay safe but doesn’t necessarily have the time to research and read every ingredient on the back of every  item.

“Even going into a store to buy just about anything…you shouldn’t have to walk around aimlessly asking ‘Is this okay?’ ‘Is this not okay?’ Kardashian said. “Everybody should have the right to healthy products.”

Kardashian  who’s often considered the “health-nut”of the family,   has fallen prey to a lot of harmful products marketed as “healthy” or “organic” to consumers.

As a result, she teamed up with the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) an organization committed to protecting public health, along with the environment, to push their mutual agenda on the Hill.

While EWG has an app called “Healthy Living” where you can scan and check if your personal products are safe to use, Rep. Pallone, a number of other lawmakers and Kardashian argue that the American public shouldn’t have to do that in the first place.

“The FDA needs greater authority today to hold these manufacturers responsible,” Pallone said back in February. “Until Congress modernizes FDA’s authority over cosmetics, American families will continue to be at unnecessary risk of exposure to toxic chemicals in their cosmetic and personal care products.”

His main ideas for updating regulations include registering facilities and ingredients with the FDA, reporting serious adverse events and complying with good manufacturing practices.

New labeling tactics and animal testing alternatives are also being considered.

Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced the Personal Care Products Safety Act (S. 1113) to the Senate in June of 2017.

Feinstein and her fellow Senators and representatives in the House  are ready to bring this to the floor.

And, as of this past February , the cosmetic companies, L’Oreal, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Estee Lauder, Revlon and Unilever are on board with the terms of the bill.

It was not clear how much traction the bill has, but if passed, Pallone and Kardashian argued that it will be sure to change our personal care routines for the better.

“I do feel like it’s time for Congress to do its job,” said Kardashian.

franconc@miamioh.edu

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