Safer Beauty & Cosmetics Laws
At a Glance
The personal care products industry is one of the least regulated in the U.S. yet most people assume personal care products and cosmetics are safe. In reality, the U.S. cosmetic safety law is over 75 years old and gives the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) very little power to regulate this $84 billion industry.
BCPP is committed to securing comprehensive, health-protective federal personal care product safety regulation. Our Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is leading the way for cosmetic safety reform at the national level. Learn More
California Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act (CA AB 495)
BCPP is cosponsoring the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act (AB 495) in partnership with the Environmental Working Group and the California Public Interest Research Group (CalPIRG). This bill would ban more than a dozen toxic chemicals from cosmetic products sold in California. 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. Learn More
California Safer Salons Law (CA AB 2775)
Salon workers and their clients are at risk of exposure to toxic chemicals like toluene, formaldehyde, and phthalates. U.S. law requires that ingredients be labeled on beauty and personal care products that are sold to consumers at retail stores, but there is no similar federal labeling requirement for products used in nail or hair salons.
That’s why BCPP co-sponsored and successfully advocated for passage of the Professional Cosmetics Labeling Requirements Act (CA AB 2775) in 2018 to require companies that sell professional salon products in California to include ingredients on the label. Learn More
California Cosmetic Fragrance and Flavor Ingredient Right to Know Act of 2019 (SB 574)
BCPP’s Campaign for Safe Cosmetics partnered with Black Women for Wellness and Women’s Voices for the Earth to expand the information available in the California Safe Cosmetics Program Database to include fragrance and flavor ingredients. Together, we cosponsored the California Cosmetic Fragrance and Flavor Ingredient Right to Know Act of 2019 (SB 574), authored by Senator Leyva. The bill would have required companies that sell beauty or personal care products in California to report fragrance or flavor ingredients linked to harm to human health or the environment to the California Safe Cosmetics Program Database. SB 574 does not ban any chemicals or require additional product labeling, or force companies to disclose non-toxic chemicals. The bill came close, but did not pass, in the 2019 legislative session. BCPP and the SB 574 coalition are expected to reintroduce a similar bill next year. Learn More
California Safe Cosmetics Program
BCPP’s Campaign for Safe Cosmetics also teamed up with Black Women for Wellness on a successful 2019 campaign to secure $1.5 million in funding for the California Safe Cosmetics Program, a right-to-know program that tells you whether your favorite beauty or personal care product contains chemicals linked to cancer or birth defects. Learn More
Other State Cosmetics Policy
In the absence of federal oversight of the cosmetics industry, many states have taken steps to regulate the safety of personal care products to ensure consumers have access to safer products and more information about the products they buy.
- In 2013, Minnesota banned formaldehyde, a cancer-causing chemical, in children’s personal care products like lotions, shampoos and bubble baths. The ban against the use of formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives applies to products intended for children under eight.
- In 2008, the state of Washington adopted the Children’s Safe Product Act (CSPA – Chapter 70.240 RCW), which requires manufacturers of children’s products – including personal care products — sold in Washington to report to the state if their product contains a Chemical of High Concern to Children.
- In 2005, California enacted the Safe Cosmetics Act which requires manufacturers to disclose to the state any product that contains an ingredient known to the state to cause cancer or birth defects. The resulting California Safe Cosmetics Program Product Database is now actively reporting data from companies in a publicly accessible database.
Given the lack of federally mandated fragrance ingredient disclosure, consumers are looking to the states to fill the void.
In response to interest from state advocates and legislators, BCPP drafted model state legislation to require fragrance ingredient disclosure for personal care products and cosmetics. In 2016, three states (VT, RI and MN) used this model bill to draft and introduce legislation requiring fragrance ingredient disclosure in personal care products. The bills didn’t pass, but a number of states have expressed interest in introducing similar bills in their 2017 state legislative sessions to build momentum for federally mandated fragrance ingredient disclosure.