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
Not content to pander to the cosmetics industry by requiring no safety testing on American personal care products, the Bush administration is now working to thwart Europe’s attempts at improving product safety. Government correspondence uncovered by staff of the House Committee on Government Reform shows that the administration mixed with the American Chemistry Council (ACC) for a lobbying campaign to cripple Europe’s new laws, the Oakland Tribune reports.Read More
FDA calls industry's bluff on product safety.Read More
A full-page advertisement in USA Today challenges cosmetics companies to come clean about whether they plan to remove toxic chemicals that are banned in the European Union from products sold on American shelves. The advertisement was placed by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition of US health and environmental groups.Read More
Which of those common expressions matches your outlook on consumer products and chemicals: look before you leap, or shoot first and ask questions later?Read More
There's increasing concern about the risks of chemicals in personal care products. The Independent reports that the growing use of cosmetics and toiletries, which contain many known toxic or untested chemicals, may be harming children who will develop cancer and fertility problems as adults.Read More
Most people are surprised to learn that the government neither conducts nor requires safety testing of chemicals that go into health and beauty products. Today a panel funded and advised by the cosmetic industry determined that cosmetic companies can continue to add reproductive toxins known as phthalates to cosmetics marketed to women of childbearing age.Read More
In May 2002 a coalition of environmental and public health organizations contracted with a major national laboratory to test 72 name-brand, off-the-shelf beauty products for the presence of phthalates, a large family of industrial chemicals linked to per- manent birth defects in the male reproductive system.Read More
In September 2000, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that every single one of the 289 persons tested for the plasticizer dibutyl phthalate (DBP) had the compound in their bodies. The finding passed with little public fanfare, but surprised government scientists, who just one month earlier had rated DBP of little health concern based on the scientific assumption, which later turned out to be wrong, that levels in humans were within safe limits. DBP causes a number of birth defects in lab animals, primarily to male offspring, including testicular atrophy, reduced sperm count, and defects in the structure of the penis (CERHR 2000).Read More