Cosmetic Safety Laws
At a Glance
U.S. cosmetics law allows chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, hormone disruption, learning disabilities, and reproductive harm in the personal care and beauty products we use daily.
The Modernization of Cosmetics Regulations Act of 2022 represents the biggest step forward for federal cosmetic safety regulation since 1938. Our analysis
Despite this progress, more work remains to be done to achieve a truly health-protective cosmetic law.
The Safer Beauty Bill Package is a set of four bills that will make personal care and beauty products safer for everyone by getting the toxic chemicals out, reducing unsafe chemical exposures for the most vulnerable, and making ingredient transparency the new industry standard. Together, these bills will modernize our outdated U.S. cosmetic safety law.
U.S. Cosmetic Law Health & Safety Gaps
Due to gaping holes in federal law, it is perfectly legal for cosmetics companies to use ingredients with known hazards to human health and the environment without FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration) pre-market safety testing or review. We need a law that gives the FDA the authority to ensure that personal care and cosmetic products are safe for people and the planet.
Specifically, Congress must strengthen the FDA’s authority over cosmetic safety by:
- Immediately banning chemicals from cosmetics linked to cancer, birth defects, and reproductive harm, including parabens, phthalates, mercury, formaldehyde, and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives and phenylenediamines. The European Union, CA, and MD already ban them.
- Banning the entire class of Perfluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS “Forever” chemicals), which are highly toxic and highly persistent in the environment. CA, CO, and WA already ban them.
- Ensuring women of color, children, pregnant women, workers, and other highly exposed populations are protected from unsafe chemicals in beauty and personal care products;
- Closing labeling loopholes by requiring full fragrance ingredient disclosure for retail consumer and professional salon products on both product labels and brand owner websites; and
- Mandating supply chain transparency so companies have access to the ingredient information and safety data they need to make safer products.
Support the Safer Beauty Bill Package
The Safer Personal Care and Beauty Bill Package is a suite of four bills:
These bills would fill critical gaps in cosmetic safety law that impact everyone, especially women of color, professional salon workers, and other vulnerable populations.
State Cosmetic Safety Laws
Given that the Modernization of Cosmetic Regulations Act of 2022 preempted the states from legislating on cosmetic safety in eight ways, the significance of state legislative action to ban chemicals of concern from beauty and personal care products has become even more important. Individual state laws can influence companies to make and sell products that meet the strictest regulatory requirements not only in the state that mandates it but also throughout the country. Also, state laws can provide resources and standards that directly benefit every state. For example, BCPP sponsored legislation in California to require the disclosure of fragrance and flavor ingredients in beauty and personal care products that are toxic to human health or the environment. As of January 2022, cosmetic products containing toxic or allergenic fragrance and flavor ingredients are listed on the Safe Cosmetics database. Learn more
This heightened fragrance ingredient transparency benefits consumers everywhere and forces companies to abandon trade secret protection for the fragrance and flavor ingredients disclosed in California through the Cosmetic Fragrance and Flavor Ingredient Right to Know Act of 2020.