By 2019 BCPP Program Intern Juhi Khemani
I joined BCPP as a program and policy intern last month and worked with the team to help organize the California Cosmetic Fragrance and Flavor Ingredient Right to Know Act of 2019’s first official lobby day. On May 22, 2019, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, Women’s Voices for the Earth and Black Women for Wellness journeyed to the State Capitol Building in Sacramento to lobby for the bill, Senate Bill 574 (SB574). With a floor vote that could be as early as the next day, it was imperative to speak directly to our elected representatives in favor of this bill.
Supporters of SB 574 who joined our lobby day ranged from clean cosmetic businesses who voluntarily disclose the fragrance and flavor ingredients they use, to breast cancer survivors who unequivocally support the consumer right to know focus of Senator Leyva’s bill. We at BCPP, along with our coalition of business and NGO supporters, believe in full disclosure of toxic fragrance and flavor ingredients in beauty and personal care products and SB 574 aims to do just that – hold manufacturers and companies accountable by mandating fragrance and flavor ingredient transparency.
The goal of the Fragrance and Flavor Ingredient Right to Know Act lobby day was to sit down and share these views with legislators in Sacramento. Throughout the day, groups of advocates visited different senators’ offices to tell their impassioned stories and express to legislative staffers the importance of supporting SB 574 when the bill came before the full Senate for a floor vote. The stories of women who have been directly affected by toxic ingredients in beauty care products were paramount in explaining to legislative aides why we need fragrance and flavor disclosure.
Salon workers shared their concerns about working with products that contained hidden toxic ingredients while beauty product businesses explained the benefits of ingredient transparency from an industry perspective. That we came with allies in the beauty product industry and other women’s organizations demonstrated to California legislators the broad-based constituent and business support behind SB 574 in California. Our lobby day was a final push in the Senate to explain the purpose of what this bill contained and what it could offer for consumers and workers alike. SB574 is the first bill of its kind in the nation and could build momentum for federal-level fragrance disclosure.
The landscape of consumer demands is going through a transformation – parents, families and individuals are demanding more transparency from companies in order to keep their loved ones safe. SB 574 would offer this transparency. BCPP, Senator Leyva, and our other co-sponsors of the bill, Black Women for Wellness and Women’s Voices for the Earth,– believe that the citizens of California should have the Right to Know whether toxic ingredients are hiding, undisclosed, in their beauty and personal care products. SB574 calls the question on this important issue for California legislators: will they also support consumer and worker fragrance ingredient right to know?
Our lobby day was a success! On May 29, 2019, SB 574 passed the California State Senate by a vote of 23 to 10. Now we are working to get SB574 through the California Assembly. It’s been a busy summer of advocacy and congressional visits at California’s capitol, but we are hopeful for the passage of SB 574. Without hesitation, we have already set our sights on the United States Congress. It’s time for the federal government to follow suit and care about cosmetic reform too because toxic ingredients shouldn’t be a secret anywhere in our country.
Tell your California legislators to Expose the Secret Chemicals in Cosmetics (SB574)
Passed the Senate, we’re halfway there! Send your CA Assemblymember a message to vote Yes on SB574 to expose toxic fragrance and flavor chemicals in beauty and personal care products.