On September 30, California banned two dozen toxic chemicals from cosmetic products, becoming the first American state to do so.
The Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act, signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom, bans chemicals like mercury from cosmetic products.
There has been growing concern about toxic substances entering beauty and personal hygiene products. For example, Johnson & Johnson and other talc powder manufacturers have been sued across the country for cancer-causing asbestos in their products.
Now California has taken a stand to ensure cosmetic products are well-regulated and don’t contain harmful chemicals. The Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act, which had been authored by Democratic Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, is a step in the right direction.
What the Act Bans
The Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act bans 24 types of chemicals, with the idea that no product should have a hidden toxic ingredient.
- Dibutyl phthalate
- Methylene glycol
- Certain types of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and their salts
The full list can be viewed here.
These ingredients have already been banned in similar products in the European Union. But until now, they were not controlled by any laws or regulations in the United States. Even now, there is no federal-level regulation.
But Californians, at least, will benefit from consumer protections similar to those in the EU.
The U.S. has not made significant progress in the field of cosmetics regulation since 1938. Today, those who manufacture cosmetics don’t have to follow stringent federal guidelines.
For example, manufacturers don’t need to do any of the following:
- Register their products with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- Supply the government with an ingredients list
- Follow safe manufacturing standards
- Report safety records and any adverse health impacts
In a small step toward better regulation, on September 30, Governor Newsom also signed into effect Senate Bill 312, which makes it mandatory for cosmetics makers to report harmful fragrances or flavors to the California Department of Public Health Safe Cosmetics Program.
The Toxic Free Cosmetics Act will, however, only go into effect in 2025.
How Chemicals in Cosmetic Products Can Harm You
The chemicals banned by the Act are extremely toxic and have been linked to cancer, birth defects, hormone disruption, among many other health issues, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) .
PFAS, in particular, have been linked to the following conditions:
- Liver cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Blood Cancers
- Thyroid disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Liver problems
- Premature babies and low birth weight
- Endocrine disruption
Find out more about PFAS and their toxic effects here.
Newsom also pointed out that children, minorities, and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to these toxic ingredients. “California is leading the nation by banning toxic ingredients from our cosmetics,” he said. “This legislation will save lives and keep Californians and our environment safe.”
There have been reports of toxic cosmetic products being marketed specifically to Black women. Hair straightening products were found to contains shockingly high levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Such products are more commonly used among Black women. Black women were also found to be 45% more likely to develop breast cancer after using hair dye.
This Act will protect such women from harm caused by using toxic beauty products.
The Act will also protect salon workers, who are 47 times more likely to develop skin allergies from fragrance as compared to people who work in other fields.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-934-6555
We Can Help You
When you use a cosmetic product, you expect it to be safe and toxin-free. Beauty product manufacturers need to be regulated and held responsible if any harmful chemicals in their products harm their consumers.
If you’ve been affected by a toxic chemical in any beauty product, get the legal guidance you need. The expert team at Pintas & Mullins specializes in product liability and personal injury cases and can review your case for free. We don’t charge a penny until you have a settlement. Reach out to us today.