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California state cosmetics database in place after 9 years

By Michelle Yeomans+

13-Jan-2014

State public health officials have launched an online cosmetic database which indicates what products may contain certain harmful chemicals in California.

The database has been nine years in the making and is the first state-run public resource where consumers can search by type of product, brand or ingredient, and will be shown if the product contains potentially hazardous ingredients.

It has been part of a state law since 2005 and was required to be up by Dec. 31, 2013, but a health department spokesman says it has only been live since Friday last. read and shade

Back in November, the state had collected information from 475 California based companies, which disclosed the ingredients of 30,000 products give or take. It is looking for about 900 chemicals that have been identified as harmful by Proposition 65 legislation and organizations such as the National Toxicology Program.

According to Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the state Department of Public Health, uncovering these chemicals does not mean that the cosmetic product itself has been shown to cause cancer, for example but will rather "allow consumers to make more informed choices based on the information provided."

The law also gives the state some enforcement authority, such as requiring products are labeled with warnings.

State's on-going efforts to crack down on product safety

California’s State Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) implemented a new regulation in October in regards to product safety, which it believes will lead the way in seeing the first comprehensive, state-level efforts to find safer alternatives.

The department made the move in an effort to promote greater transparency by compelling chemical manufacturers to provide sufficient information, which will then trigger the choice of viable safer alternatives.

The legislation requires manufacturers or other responsible entities to “seek safer alternatives to harmful chemical ingredients in widely used products”, which the department reckons will give the State the opportunity to lead the way in producing 'safer versions' of cosmetics.

Over 20% of all beauty products sold in the United States are sold in the state of California. Many of these were initially wholesaled elsewhere and are later transported to the State for retail sale.

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