We are all in the market for clean beauty products free of harmful or toxic chemicals, but with mile long ingredient lists and complicated names, it can be hard to navigate choosing safe options. Fortunately, new legislation could make beauty products safer for all. The California assembly has passed the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act, A.B. 2762, which would make it the first state in the nation to ban 12 harmful ingredients.
The bill bans 12 specific chemicals from cosmetic products which have been called unsafe by retailers and investigative journalists. Some of these include mercury, several types of formaldehyde, phthalates, parabens, and PFAS.
Most of these harmful ingredients are found as preservatives in common items like shampoo, waterproof mascara, sunscreens, perfumes, and shaving creams. While some are labeled as preservatives, others hide under less specific names. The word “fragrance,” for example, can be code for many harmful additives. This is why many experts recommend opting for fragrance-free options.
The bill was introduced by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi. “I want my daughter growing up in a state where I don’t have to examine the label, and be an expert toxicologist, to know the soaps, face creams, and toothpaste that are safe for her to use,” he said.
This bill is big news, not only because it would be the first of its kind in the country, but also because it takes action on products already on the market. It would require the half of sales of existing products as well as new ones. The bill is modeled after one in the EU which already bans these 12 chemicals (and many more).
The bill is now headed for the senate, so individuals should still be vigilant about potential hazards hiding in their soap, but if enacted, the bill would be protecting all Californians from potential toxins in the products they use every day and offer a blueprint for similar legislation in other states.