Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

California Becomes First State to Ban 24 Toxic Chemicals From Cosmetics

Politics
California Becomes First State to Ban 24 Toxic Chemicals From Cosmetics
Actress Jessica Smith gets her make-up done at the Point De Vue Salon on March 1, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. Marsaili McGrath / Getty Images

California became the first state in the nation to ban two dozen toxic chemicals from cosmetics Wednesday when Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill to that effect into law.


The Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act, or Assembly Bill 2762, targets 24 toxic chemicals including mercury and formaldehyde that have been linked to cancer, birth defects, hormone disruption and other negative health impacts, Environmental Working Group (EWG) reported. While these ingredients have been barred from cosmetics and personal care products in the EU, they are not regulated in the U.S. on the national level.

"Every day, Californians are exposed to hazardous chemicals hiding in their cosmetics and personal care products. Children, communities of color and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to these ingredients, which are not actively regulated by the federal government," Newsom said in a press release. "California is leading the nation by banning toxic ingredients from our cosmetics. This legislation will save lives and keep Californians and our environment safe."

The bill was introduced by Democratic Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi and will go into effect in 2025, The Associated Press reported.

"The science is clear on the harmful nature of these chemicals and AB 2762 will provide Californians with the same consumer protections already provided in the European Union," Muratsuchi said in the press release.

Cosmetics regulations have not been significantly updated in the U.S. since 1938. Currently, the makers of beauty products do not have to register their products with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), supply the government with an ingredients list, follow safe manufacturing standards or report safety records and any adverse health impacts.

This lack of regulation is an issue of health and environmental justice, supporters of the California bill pointed out.

"Some of the most toxic ingredients are being aggressively marketed to Black women," Black Women for Wellness policy director Nourbese Flint told EWG. "Levels of formaldehyde that could be used to embalm a body are being used in hair straighteners, and Black women who dye their hair are 60 percent more likely to develop breast cancer. That's why we demand safe cosmetics now. This law means we can finally protect women from the toxic exposures they currently face on every trip to the salon."

The law will also protect salon workers, who are 47 times more likely to develop fragrance skin allergies than people in other professions, the California government pointed out.

Also on Wednesday, Newsom signed Senate Bill 312, which mandates that cosmetics makers report any harmful fragrances or flavors to the California Department of Public Health Safe Cosmetics Program.

"I thank Governor Newsom for signing SB 312 which will ensure that consumers in California know what ingredients are in the beauty and personal care products they bring home to their families and use on their bodies," Democratic State Senator Connie Leyva, who introduced the bill, said in the press release. "This first-in-the-nation legislation empowers consumers and underscores the belief that no toxic ingredients should be kept secret."

Recycling and general waste plastic wheelie bins awaiting collection for disposal in Newport, Rhode Island. Tim Graham / Getty Images

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. According to The National Museum of American History, this popular slogan, with its iconic three arrows forming a triangle, embodied a national call to action to save the environment in the 1970s. In that same decade, the first Earth Day happened, the EPA was formed and Congress passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, encouraging recycling and conservation of resources, Enviro Inc. reported.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The coal-fired Huaneng Power Plant in Huai 'an City, Jiangsu Province, China on Sept. 13, 2020. Costfoto / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

One of the silver linings of the coronavirus pandemic was the record drop in greenhouse gas emissions following national lockdowns. But that drop is set to all but reverse as economies begin to recover, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
Trending
A grizzly bear killed an outdoor guide in a rare attack near Yellowstone Park. William Campbell / Corbis / Getty Images

A backcountry guide has died after being mauled by a grizzly bear near Yellowstone National Park.

Read More Show Less
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) re-introduces the Green New Deal in Washington, D.C. on April 20, 2021. Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

In the latest of a flurry of proposed Green New Deal legislation, Reps. Cori Bush and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday introduced the Green New Deal for Cities Act of 2021, a $1 trillion plan to "tackle the environmental injustices that are making us and our children sick, costing us our homes, and destroying our planet."

Read More Show Less
Offshore oil and gas drillers have left more than 18,000 miles of pipelines at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Offshore oil and gas drillers have discarded and abandoned more than 18,000 miles of pipelines on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico since the 1960s, a report from the Government Accountability Office says.

Read More Show Less