California Assembly Bill 495: The Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act
California law on cosmetic safety mirrors the inadequate federal law. It does not give state regulators enough authority to ensure that cosmetics sold to Californians are safe. What authority the law does provide to regulators is rarely used. When state agencies investigate harmful cosmetics, the results are limited and the products often remain on the market.
AB 495, the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act, will explicitly prohibit the use of the 20 of the most harmful chemicals and contaminants in cosmetics today. These “Toxic Twenty” ingredients include asbestos, lead, mercury, formaldehyde, toluene, triclosan, carbon black, some of the most toxic parabens and phthalates, and the fluorinated compounds known as PFAS.
The bill will also strengthen enforcement authority and ensure that when violations are found, regulators notify the attorney general, who will then take legal action.
Keep Up With All of EWG's Latest Cosmetics News and Analysis
In a breakthrough move, Revlon becomes the first global brand to bring an EWG VERIFIED™ cosmetic product to mass retailers, making affordable clean beauty a reality for millions of discerning consumers. Launched today, Revlon’s PhotoReady Prime Plus™ Perfecting + Smoothing Primer meets EWG’s industry-leading clean beauty standards.Read More
The notorious carcinogen asbestos has been found in a talc-containing eye shadow in a children’s toy makeup kit, according to laboratory tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group.Read More
Today supporters gathered at the California State Capitol to urge the state Assembly to pass the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act, A.B. 495. If passed, the law would ban toxic ingredients like lead, mercury and formaldehyde from the beauty and personal care products Californians use every day. The law will face its first key vote on Tuesday.Read More
Recent years have seen an increase in the number of aluminum-free antiperspirants and deodorants on the market. The trend has been led by smaller, boutique brands marketed as “natural,” such as Here + Now, Justin Bieber’s new “gender-neutral” deodorant from Schmidt’s Naturals. But even Dove, one of the longest-established and biggest-selling deodorant brands in the world, launched its 0% Aluminum label this year.Read More
A new report by researchers at the National Institutes of Health, or NIH, links chemicals commonly used in hair dyes and chemical hair straighteners to an increased risk of breast cancer.Read More
In response to new asbestos detections of Johnson & Johnson’s popular baby powder, EWG today urged Congress to act quickly to require warning labels on products made with talc.Read More
WASHINGTON – Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president for government affairs, issued the following statement on the introduction of the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2019 by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.):Read More
The Food and Drug Administration has issued a safety alert urging consumers to stop using cosmetics from Beauty Plus, after the agency found the deadly carcinogen asbestos in at least four different talc-based products.Read More
CVS, one of the nation’s largest drugstore chains, recently announced it will phase out two common sunscreen ingredients, oxybenzone and octinoxate, from many of its store-brand sun-protection products. CVS cited the changing needs of its customers, concern for marine ecosystems and the desire to stay ahead of state-level chemical bans.Read More
I try to stay up to date on the latest beauty trends, especially when they involve products advertised as “clean” or “nontoxic.” Even before my internship with EWG’s Healthy Living Science team, I knew that claims like “natural,” “nontoxic,” “plant based” and “clean” have no legal basis or standardized definition in the personal care industry.Read More
The cancer-causing chemical 1,4-dioxane, which contaminates the drinking water of millions of Americans and is found in personal care products and other consumer goods, is “not an unreasonable risk” to the American public or the environment, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.Read More
EWG board member Michelle Pfeiffer met with federal lawmakers today to urge them to support bipartisan legislation to reform a woefully outdated law governing the cosmetics industry.Read More
Today EWG released its 13th Annual Guide to Sunscreens, which rates the safety and efficacy of more than 1300 SPF products, including sunscreens, daily moisturizers and lip balms with SPF values. EWG researchers found that two-thirds of sunscreen products still offer inferior sun protection or contain worrisome ingredients, like oxybenzone.Read More
More than 40 nations have banned or restricted more than 1,400 chemicals in cosmetics and other personal care products. So why are chemicals linked to cancer and reproductive harm still turning up in cosmetics sold in California?Read More
Today Michelle Pfeiffer launched Henry Rose, a new collection of five distinct scents that meets the Environmental Working Group’s rigorous criteria for health, ingredient disclosure and transparency. This is the first fine fragrance line to earn the EWG VERIFIED™ mark.Read More
More than ever, Americans want to know everything about our food, cosmetics, cleaners and other everyday products we bring into our homes.Read More
U.S. regulation of chemicals and contaminants in cosmetics is falling behind the rest of the world, according to an EWG analysis.Read More
The Environmental Protection Agency announced a confusing and deceptive decision today about the notorious carcinogen formaldehyde: Under the guise of taking action, the decision likely will have the effect of delaying further restrictions on its use, said EWG Legislative Attorney Melanie Benesh.Read More