California Tried To Ban 20 Questionable Ingredients From Cosmetics — & Failed

Photographed by Shirley Yu.
In California, a proposed bill to make the use of makeup and personal-care products safer for consumers has failed to proceed.
The number of chemicals banned or restricted from use in beauty and personal-care products in the European Union stands at around 1,400. In the United States, that number is roughly 11. Despite that staggering fact, when the time came for a vote on the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act within the state's Environment, Safety, and Toxic Materials Committee this week, the bill — which was set to be discussed on April 23 — stalled without enough votes to move to the Assembly Health Committee. Now, it's likely the bill won't be considered again for another year.
The bill targeted a list of 20 different potentially harmful ingredients — including asbestos, lead, mercury, formaldehyde, and some parabens and phthalates — to prohibit their use in cosmetics and personal-care products. According to the Los Angeles Times, backers of the bill hoped that, because of California's size and influence, passing the law would motivate the rest of the country when it comes to eliminating potentially dangerous ingredients in these products.
However, the $70 billion cosmetics industry has been fighting hard against the bill, arguing that there isn't enough scientific evidence to ban those particular chemicals — which have been coined "the toxic 20" — and even offered free cosmetic samples to legislative staffers around the State Capitol.
This comes after U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Personal Care Products Safety Act, which pushed for more transparency and to allow the FDA to oversee the safety of these products, in the U.S. Senate back in 2017. Though brands like Beautycounter have sent armies of sellers to Capitol Hill in support of this bill, that one hasn't gained any real traction either. But with organizations like the Environment Working Group — which has been playing watchdog for toxic ingredients for years — growing ever more popular, along with increased customer awareness, this is just the beginning of this fight to ensure that everything people are putting on their bodies in this country is certifiably safe.

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