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Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Cosmetics Chemical Banning Bill Passed in Committee

AB 2762 would ban chemicals such as formaldehyde and mercury in cosmetics statewide.

By Evan Symon, May 15, 2020 2:46 pm

On Thursday, the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials passed Assembly Bill 2762, a bill that would ban 12 chemicals from being used in cosmetics in California.

AB 2762, authored by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), would shift the cosmetic chemical ban standard from what is required under U.S. law to what is currently the European Union standard. Dibutyl phthalate, diethylhexyl phthalate, formaldehyde, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, long chain PFAS chemicals, methylene glycol, mercury, paraformaldehyde, phenylenediamine, and quaternium-15, many of which are toxins and poisonous to humans in small quantities, would all be banned.

The bill, also widens the support for enforcement by making it a violation of the Sherman Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Law to use or add any of those chemicals into cosmetics.

“Today I presented my AB 2762, the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act, to the Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee,” announced Assemblyman Muratsuchi on Facebook on Thursday. “This bill, which passed in a bipartisan vote 7-0, will now go to the Appropriations Committee.

This bill is important to the health and safety of women. Women deserve to know that their personal care products and cosmetics are toxic-free.”

Many women’s groups, consumer groups, and environmental organizations, along with the cosmetics industry trade group Personal Care Products Council praised the move, with many specifically pointing out the human dangers of well known toxins such as mercury and formaldehyde.

“Today’s vote to ban 12 ingredients from cosmetics is just the first step in the legislative process,” noted Environmental Working Group (EWG) President Ken Cook in a statement. “But this vote is an important milestone in the history of cosmetics regulation. For the first time, groups like EWG and the industry’s trade association, the Personal Care Products Council, support legislation to modernize the rules governing these everyday products. Industry and consumer advocates agree that ingredients like formaldehyde and mercury have no place in cosmetics and other personal care products. This is good news for consumers, who should not have to worry about the presence of these chemicals, and good news for cosmetics companies, which benefit from greater harmony among global rules.”

Very little opposition has come against the bill, mostly in the form of some chemical organizations. No Assemblymember voted against the bill, with only 2 recorded abstentions on Thursday, marking it as a bill likely to be passed into law later in the year.

“It’s hard to argue against men and women putting mercury on their faces, or pregnant women inhaling substances used to preserve dead bodies en masse,” explained chemical engineer Daniel Mack. “A lot of those substances listed are very dangerous to humans. It’s just hard to argue against something that seems like common sense. I’m actually surprised that states haven’t jumped on this sooner.”

AB 2762 will now be sent to the Appropriations Committee, with a hearing expected in the next few weeks. It is widely expected to be approved for an Assembly vote.

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Evan Symon
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