California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed legislation that bans 24 toxic chemicals in cosmetics, making the state the first in the US to stop the use of these hazardous ingredients. In addition, he signed legislation requiring companies to disclose any harmful ingredients in beauty and personal care products.
The legislation AB 2762 was proposed by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi and prohibits the 24 toxic chemicals from being used in cosmetics in California starting in 2025. These chemicals are also banned by the European Union. A recent study conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences showed that black women who frequently dye their hair have a 60 percent increased risk of breast cancer. The legislation also protects professional salon workers who are disproportionately exposed to toxic chemicals in the workplace. Since companies will need time to reformulate some products, they’ll need to start planning now for how to comply. The list of 24 chemicals includes many substances that are commonly used in cosmetic packaging, processing, or as preservation aids. While the legislation allows for “trace amounts” of toxic chemicals in cosmetics, the law doesn’t give a threshold as guidance on what’s an acceptable trace amount in products.
SB 312 by Senator Connie Leyva requires companies selling beauty or personal care products in California to report the presence of hazardous fragrance and flavor ingredients in their products to the California Department of Public Health’s Safe Cosmetics Program. The information provided would then be publicly available through a database. This law goes into effect January 1, 2022, and according to an article by The National Law Review, “SB 312 is likely to impose logistical challenges. The ingredients that require reporting are determined by reference to 22 different lists, all of which will require monitoring.” The numerous lists are also in some cases maintained by foreign jurisdictions, which could make them more difficult to reference and comply with. Many ingredients may still be being studied for their potential hazards, limiting the usefulness of the information.