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
This week marked a huge victory for consumers. Johnson & Johnson, global manufacturer of such well known health and personal care products as Johnson's Baby Shampoo, unveiled plans to reformulate many of its adult cosmetic and toiletry products to remove potentially toxic or cancer-causing ingredients.Read More
Johnson & Johnson, one of the world’s largest personal care product companies, has announced a groundbreaking new initiative to reformulate many of its personal care products, including baby shampoos and lotions, to remove chemicals of concern to consumers.Read More
As we change gears from the Hall of Shame and begin to focus on the upcoming annual EWG Sunscreen Database, EWG research was mentioned in a number of consumer health stories. The Washington Post ran a story on preserving the quality of the Potomac River, reminding readers to chose personal care products wisely as they end up down the drain. Forbes, Treehugger and Mother Nature News all mentioned our Hall of Shame, with the line of the week coming from Treehugger: "Environmental Working Group (EWG) to the rescue."Read More
Last month, the New York Times published a story about my efforts when I was pregnant to rid my home of toxic chemicals. The story featured a photo of my 18-month-old daughter and recounted how I threw out a large pile of cosmetics, cleaners and other products that my research, using EWG's online Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, found to contain dangerous substances. While at the time I thought I was doing the right thing for my family, when I read readers' comments, I felt as if I were on Nickelodeon, in one of those scenes when an unsuspecting person has an entire bucket of green slime dumped on her head.Read More
News coverage of EWG topics including cosmetics and household toxins appeared across the web from sites including the Los Angeles Times, Shine by Yahoo!, and Prevention. EWG released a statement on a finding from an independent science panel finding PFOA, an ingredient that has been used to make non-stick coatings and stain-resistant materials, is linked to testicular and kidney cancers.Read More
California state scientists have found that some nail polishes widely used in California salons are laced with high levels of three chemicals linked to birth defects, asthma and other health risks.Read More
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned this week that more than 35 imported skin creams, antiseptic soaps and anti-aging lotions have recently been tied to mercury poisoning that in some instances sent users to the hospital.
The maker of Brazilian Blowout -- one of numerous hair straighteners on the market containing formaldehyde, a known carcinogen -- is now required to provide health warnings on its product's packaging and website, revamp deceptive marketing practices and pay civil penalties under California consumer protection law. These measures are part of a settlement agreement between the Los Angeles-based company and California Attorney General Kamala Harris.Read More
A class action settlement requiring the manufacturer of Brazilian Blowout, a popular chemical hair straightener to pay a small compensation to salon workers and customers who used its formaldehyde-laced products doesn’t go far enough to protect public health.Read More
U.S. Food and Drug Administration researchers have detected lead in 400 brands of lipstick tested by the agency. At least two popular brands had amounts of the neurotoxin above the threshold the state of California considers safe in personal care products, which is 5 parts per million.Read More
People are messy. So is nature. And what people do when nature unleashes its fury often makes things worse.
The staff at Environmental Working Group took a look at the major environmental news stories of the year and came up with two lists: the Top 10 Good News stories and the Top 10 Bad News stories.Read More
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics announced today that 321 cosmetics companies have met the goals of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, the Campaign’s voluntary pledge to avoid chemicals banned by health agencies outside the U.S. and to fully disclose product ingredients – a pioneering practice in the cosmetics industry. An additional 111 companies made significant progress toward those goals.Read More
"Natural" and homemade cosmetics and cleaning products aren't by definition safer than mainstream products. EWG takes a closer look at two common plant-based ingredients - tea tree and lavender oils - and finds that the science is still evolving and safety can't be assumed. First of a two-part blog on health concerns tied to natural ingredients. Part one of a two-part blog series.Read More
Did you know that your cosmetics could harm your health? Your makeup is probably laden with dangerous chemical ingredients that could potentially cause long-term damage. Are you having trouble getting rid of old cosmetics you don't use anymore? Do you find yourself buying the same unhealthy products every time you go to the store? Here are some tips to help you start buying safer and healthier productsRead More
Hey teens! We know you probably wear make-up and use cosmetics everyday, but do you have any idea what's inside these products? Many personal care products may include dangerous chemicals that can build-up inside your body and pose risks to your health.Read More
EWG's 2011 Teen Ambassadors interview other teens to find out how much they know about ingredients in their cosmetics - and share some shocking findings about the safety of make-up and personal care products.Read More
The mainstream cosmetics industry has, for the first time, declared formaldehyde unsafe at any level in hair straighteners.Read More
Environmental Working Group issued the following statement this afternoon in response to the federal Food and Drug Administration’s warning to Brazilian Blowout that the company’s product containing carcinogenic formaldehyde is “adulterated” and “misbranded.”Read More