California Legislature Sends Landmark Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act to Gov. Newsom

EWG: Legislation protects Californians from 12 toxic chemicals in personal care products
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For Immediate Release: 
Monday, August 31, 2020

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – On Sunday, the California legislature passed Assembly Bill 2762, the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act. This landmark legislation bans 12 toxic ingredients, such as PFAS, mercury and formaldehyde, which are already prohibited from cosmetics and other personal care products sold in the European Union and other countries. The law now goes to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

“If signed into law, Californians will have greater assurance of the safety of the consumer products they use every day - like lotion and body wash, toothpaste and dental floss, shampoo and conditioner, and makeup,” said Susan Little, EWG’s senior advocate for California government affairs.

“What are harmful chemicals like formaldehyde and mercury doing in our personal care products?” Little asked. “Now California consumers will join those of 40 other nations who are protected from harmful cosmetics. This common-sense legislation puts people and public health first.”

The list of banned chemicals includes the toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS, mercury, formaldehyde, as well as endocrine-disrupting phthalates and long-chain parabens, preservatives used in skincare products.

The U.S. has done little to protect consumers from unsafe ingredients in personal care products. For more than 80 years, Congress has neglected to increase the scope of the Food and Drug Administration’s authority on cosmetics, limiting the agency’s ability to ensure the safety of cosmetic products.

By contrast, the EU has performed rigorous research to identify the chemicals that are not safe for use in cosmetics and other personal care products. By following their science on chemical bans, Californians will be safer, while also creating a more global standard for cosmetic safety.

AB 2762 is coauthored by Assemblymembers Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) and Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland).

“This marks a momentous milestone in the history of cosmetics regulation,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “California is the first state to ban ingredients from personal care products. And for the first time, groups like EWG and the industry’s trade association, the Personal Care Products Council, support legislation to modernize the rules governing these everyday products. We urge Gov. Newsom to sign this absolutely necessary legislation into law.”

AB 2762 is co-sponsored by EWG, Black Women for Wellness, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners and CalPIRG.

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The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action. https://www.ewg.org/californiacosmetics