California Bans 26 Potentially Toxic Ingredients in Cosmetics and Personal Care Products

A new law signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom will ban 26 potentially toxic ingredients from cosmetics and personal care products, including nail polishes, hair dyes, and perfumes. These ingredients, which can pose risks such as burns, cancer, birth defects, and reproductive problems, have already been banned in the European Union but not in the United States. California is taking the lead in making personal care products safer.

Some of the banned ingredients include vinyl acetate (found in nail polishes), anthraquinone (found in hair-coloring products), and filial (used for fragrance in various products). Five of these ingredients are also on California’s list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or reproductive harm. Recently California became the first state to ban 4 chemicals in candy, food, and drinking products.

The new law, set to take effect on January 1, 2027, allows companies time to remove these ingredients from their products. Companies are expected to reformulate their products to comply with California’s regulations, which will likely impact products sold throughout the United States, as most are manufactured to meet national or international standards.

California has a history of being a pioneer in regulating various industries, such as banning plastic bags and setting a deadline for ending the sale of new gas-powered vehicles. This new chemicals law follows California’s 2020 law banning 24 toxic ingredients in personal care products, which is set to take effect in 2025. Last year, Maryland followed California’s lead in banning these same ingredients.

The Personal Care Products Council, representing cosmetics and personal care product companies, did not comment on the costs and time associated with reformulating products.

Global retail sales for fragrance, makeup, hair care, and skincare products exceeded $400 billion in 2022. A 2021 analysis found that over 80 other nations have stricter rules on cosmetics safety than the United States.

President Joe Biden signed the Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act in 2021, giving the U.S. FDA new authority to access companies’ safety records and order mandatory recalls of cosmetics if they pose serious health risks.

The Fragrance Creators Association requested that one ingredient, lilial, be excluded from the new law, arguing that it’s not risky when used with industry safety standards. However, the sponsors of the bill disagreed, citing the EU’s conclusions regarding its hazards and risks.

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