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California updates dangerous chemicals list with skin care preservative and emulsifier

By Andrew MCDOUGALL , 19-Nov-2012

The State of California has updated its list of chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity, with new entries benzophenone and diethanolamine, making the list.

Benzophenone is a preservative, used in a range of skin care, hair care, and make-up applications; as is diethenolamine, which is used to mix emulsions in these products.

The announcement, based on information provided by California Proposition 65 and other authoritative bodies, means that any cosmetic product sold in the state that contains an ingredient on the list must be reported.

The California Safe Cosmetics Program  requires manufacturers, packers and distributors identified on the cosmetic label to file a list of all their cosmetic products that contain any ingredients identified by California as known or suspected to be dangerous.

The full list of over 800 chemicals can be found here.

Reporting process

Reports must be filed even if the cosmetic product has been discontinued or reformulated since 2007.

California maintains a list of these cosmetic ingredients and updates their list periodically. Any cosmetic product sold in California that contains an ingredient on the California list must be reported.

Failure to report is a criminal offense, so it is important to verify whether cosmetic products contain any of the ingredients outlined, including newly added ingredients, and to verify that cosmetic products are properly reported.

The reporting process is made more difficult by the fact that many of the listed chemicals have alternative names, synonyms, or multiple CAS numbers, which are not necessarily captured on California's list but may still be subject to reporting.

Other updates

Additionally, California has updated its cosmetic product categorization system; edited to include new categories such as: 

  • Baby Products: Baby Wash/Soap
  • Bath Products: Body Washes and Soaps
  • Makeup Products: Mascara/Eyelash Products
  • Nail Products: UV Gel Nail Polish

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

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