Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act

AB 495, the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act, expands existing programs that regulate harmful cosmetics in California. The bill declares that cosmetic products containing any of the following highly toxic chemicals will be considered adulterated and, as such, cannot be sold in California. The chemicals, all of which have been banned by the European Union, include:

  • Asbestos
  • Dibutyl phthalate
  • Diethylhexyl phthalate
  • Formaldehyde
  • Paraformaldehyde
  • Methylene glycol
  • Quaternium-15
  • Isobutylparaben
  • Isopropylparaben
  • Lead
  • Long chain PFAS chemicals banned in the EU
  • Mercury
  • M- and O- Phenylenediamine

Due to a lack of regulation and government oversight, Californians cannot be sure that the cosmetics and personal care products they purchase are free of toxic ingredients. No one wants to use face powder contaminated with asbestos, lipstick that contains lead, or baby shampoo with formaldehyde. Californians deserve, and urgently need, protections against harmful chemicals in the cosmetic products they use every day.

While cosmetic products sold in California and the United States are largely unregulated, more than 40 other nations – and even retailers -- have proactively prohibited or restricted the use of hundreds to thousands of cosmetic ingredients. The European Union and the Association of South East Asian Nations, for example, each set standards for cosmetics sold in their member nations and as such, prohibit or greatly restrict the use of nearly 1400 chemicals in cosmetics. Canada, Japan, Argentina, Brazil, Canada and even Australia have followed suit and banned or restricted numerous chemicals often found in American cosmetics. Finally, even major retailers, such as Target, Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid and Credo Beauty have developed their own lists of chemicals that manufacturers may not include, or must limit, in the retailers’ store brand cosmetic products.

The Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act clarifies that cosmetics containing some of the most well-known carcinogens, reproductive toxins, and endocrine disruptors, are "adulterated cosmetics" – cosmetics that may not be sold in California.

Resources:

Fact Sheet +

Environmental Working Group Website +

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Website +