What You Need to Know About California’s Toxic Free Cosmetics Act (Assembly Bill 2762)

Posted on Behalf of  Melinda Donnell

On August 30, 2020, California passed the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act, also known as Assembly Bill 2762, prohibiting the intentional addition of 12 toxic chemicals into any cosmetic products (Assembly Bill 2762). The Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) defines cosmetics as “articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body…for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance” (21 USC 321(i)). This bill prohibits any individual or company from manufacturing, selling, delivering, holding, or offering for sale any cosmetic products that contain any of the 12 ingredients. However, if a cosmetic product contains an unavoidable trace quantity of any of the above ingredients, and the trace quantity came from impurities of natural and synthetic ingredients, the manufacturing process, storage, or migration, the cosmetic product will not be considered in violation of the bill. These 12 banned chemicals include:

·       Dibutyl phthalate (CAS #84-74-2)
·       Diethylhexyl phthalate (CAS #117-81-7)
·       Formaldehyde (CAS #50-00-0)
·       Paraformaldehyde (CAS #30525-89-4)
·       Methylene glycol (CAS #463-57-0)
·       Quaternium-15 (CAS #51229-78-8)
·       Mercury (CAS #7439-97-6)
·       Isobutylparaben (CAS #4247-02-3)
·       Isopropylparaben (CAS #4191-73-5)
·       m-Phenylenediamine and its salts (CAS #108-45-2)
·       o-Phenylenediamine and its salts (CAS #95-54-5)
·       The following per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and their salts:

  o   Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS); heptadecafluorooctane-1-sulfonic acid (CAS #1763-23-1)
  o   Potassium perfluorooctanesulfonate; potassium heptadecafluorooctane-1-sulfonate (CAS #2795-39-3)
  o   Diethanolamine perfluorooctane sulfonate (CAS #70225-14-8)
  o   Ammonium perfluorooctane sulfonate; ammonium heptadecafluorooctanesulfonate (CAS #29081-56-9)
  o   Lithium perfluorooctane sulfonate; lithium heptadecafluorooctanesulfonate (CAS #29457-72-5)
  o   Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) (CAS #335-67-1)
  o   Ammonium pentadecafluorooctanoate (CAS #3825-26-1)
  o   Nonadecafluorodecanoic acid (CAS #355-76-2)
  o   Ammonium nonadecafluorodecanoate (CAS #3108-42-7)
  o   Sodium nonadecafluorodecanoate (CAS #3830-45-3)
  o   Perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) (CAS #375-95-1)
  o   Sodium heptadecafluorononanoate (CAS #21049-39-8)
  o   Ammonium perfluorononanoate (CAS #4149-60-4)

As described in our previous blog, repeated exposure to the 12 aforementioned chemicals have been associated with various adverse health effects, including cancer, neurological damage, reproductive and developmental harm, and infertility. This bill is important because cosmetics are currently unregulated in the United States. Under federal law, cosmetic products and ingredients do not need premarket approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with the exception of color additives (FDA 2020). However, the FDA regulates cosmetics under the FD&C Act and the Fair Packaging and Label Act (FPLA). Under the FD&C Act, marketing adulterated or misbranded cosmetics in interstate commerce is prohibited (21 USC 361; 21 USC 362). In addition, the FDA requires a label containing a list of ingredients for cosmetics marketed to consumers on a retail basis under the FPLA. While this bill only applies to cosmetic products marketed in California, this bill can serve as a model for the federal government and other states.

Cardno ChemRisk has extensive experience in evaluating the safety and potential health risks resulting from exposure to various chemicals including the aforementioned banned chemicals. Specifically, Cardno ChemRisk provides screening-level safety evaluations, exposure and toxicological assessments, and comparative risk assessments. For more information regarding Cardno ChemRisk’s consumer product testing and assessment capabilities, please contact Dr. Ernest Fung.