Campaign for Safe Cosmetics celebrates the victory of the California
Safe Cosmetics bill—the nation's first state law on chemicals in
cosmetics. Companies will now have to notify the state when they use
chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects.
SACRAMENTO, Calif.—In a landmark advance in
the safety of cosmetics products, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed
SB 484, the California Safe Cosmetics Act of 2005. The decision caps a
two year campaign by Breast Cancer Action, the Breast Cancer Fund, and
the National Environmental Trust to bring additional scrutiny to an
industry accustomed to only minimal oversight.
“The new law has national significance,”
said Luis Cabrales, California Organizer for the National Environmental
Trust. “For decades the FDA has allowed the cosmetics industry to
police itself. Now, California is stepping into the breach in order to
address the latest science on chemicals and human health.”
The chemical and cosmetic industries both
vigorously opposed the bill, mounting a major campaign to convince
salon owners and workers that they would be shut down if the new law
passed. The cosmetics industry spent heavily to defeat SB 484.
Proctor and Gamble paid Sacramento lobbyists more than $90,000 in the
first six months of 2005, and the Cosmetics, Toiletries and Fragrance
Association (CTFA) spent more than $600,000 in the 2003-04 legislative
session and the first quarter of 2005 to oppose SB 484 and other
environmental health legislation in California.
“We thank the Governor for signing this
landmark bill, despite the unprecedented lobbying efforts of the
cosmetics industry,” said Jeanne Rizzo, R.N., executive director of the
Breast Cancer Fund. “This is an important disclosure bill and an
important victory for women’s health. California has set the stage for
states asserting regulatory authority around toxic chemicals in
cosmetics, which the federal government has thus far refused to lead
Currently, the FDA does not review cosmetic
ingredients for their safety before they come to market, nor does it
have the authority to recall hazardous products. SB 484 will:
• Require cosmetics manufacturers to
disclose to the state any product ingredient that is on state or
federal lists of chemicals that cause cancer or birth defects.
• Allow the state Department of Health Services (DHS) to demand
manufacturers supply any health related information about cosmetic
• Authorize CalOSHA to regulate the products to protect salon workers if they determine a safety risk.
The author of SB 484, Senator Carole Migden
(D-San Francisco), applauded Governor Schwarzenegger’s action: “This is
the strongest bill in the nation to protect cosmetics consumers. It
will go a long way to protect public health.”
Schwarzenegger signed the law against a
backdrop of new science related to chemicals in cosmetics. The U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that exposure to
certain phthalates—compounds that are used in many cosmetics
products—is increasing. A recent study for the National Study for
Environmental Health Sciences linked higher phthalate exposure by
pregnant women to birth defects and developmental problems in infant
boys. Though these health affects have long been established in animal
studies, recent research has shown that even very low levels of the
compounds can impair reproductive development and cause birth defects.
SB 484 was supported by a wide range of
public health organizations, including Catholic Health Care West and
advocates for Asian-Americans health services, as well as organized
labor. The vast majority of California salon workers are of Asian
“The chemical industry opposed this bill as
though it were a peasant revolt rather than a right to know bill,” said
Igrejas, Andy Igrejas, Environmental Health Director of the National
Environmental Trust. “Now we’ll find out what they were so afraid of.”
Over 20 California cosmetics manufacturers
supported SB 484. Two-hundred companies, including Burt’s Bees and The
Body Shop, have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, a pledge to
replace hazardous ingredients with safer alternatives within three
years, circulated by the national Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
# # #