Battle over California cosmetics Bill hots up

Related tags Cosmetic products Cosmetics

With voting due to take place for the controversial California
Senate Bill 484 on June 28, both lobby groups and industry are
readying to fight over legislation that, if passed, could have
serious repercussions for cosmetic formulation and labeling on a
national basis, reports Simon Pitman.

On the one side consumer interest groups such at The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics​, Run by the Breast Cancer Fund, to campaign against the moves by cosmetics companies to cease "aggressive lobbying against cosmetics legislation and pledge to make safer products".

The campaign names L'Oreal, Estee Lauder and Proctor & Gamble as part of its appeal, claiming all of these leading companies are fiercely opposing legislation on cosmetics safety in the US - moves that are claimed to jeopardise the safety of many consumers in the US.

But the industry has significant backing, too. The Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association​ says that the proposed Californian legislation will "impose onerous, state-specific burdens on the cosmetic industry and it will not benefit public health"​.

The association describes the Bill as an 'anti-cosmetics legislation and is encouraging all of the Senate committee members to vote against it. They also claim that the Bill will be very difficult to implement and will also mean that many cosmetic companies will have to divulge trade secret formulations, risking many years of product research and development.

Currently ome 54 cosmetics products sold in the state are said to contain ingredients identified by the Environmental Working Group as being unsafe. The industry body says that if the Bill is enforced those cosmetic products would face the possibility of further investigations and possible enforcements.

The Bill, which is being introduced by Senator Carol Migden, aims to ensure the safety of cosmetics and personal care products produced and sold within the state of California. It works around the existing Sherman Food, Drug and Cosmetic Law, which requires the State of California to regulate the packaging, labelling and advertising of food, drugs and cosmetics products.

The Bill specifies that that any cosmetic company selling products in California must provide the state government with details of any ingredients that contain chemicals identified as causing cancer or reproductive toxicity. The move chiefly targets certain chemicals in the phthalate family, which scientific studies have linked to abnormalities in unborn babies and a heightened cancer risk.

Supporters of the Bill have referred to a number of studies to stress their fears over the use of certain chemicals that are used in cosmetic products, but have been linked to toxicity-related illnesses.

Only last month the safety of phthalates came back under the spotlight after a study conducted by a team at the University of Rochester in New York concluded that exposure to phthalates can cause abnormalities in baby boys.

Although companies using phthalates in cosmetics products claim that the amounts of the chemical used in cosmetic products are well within prescribed safety limits, the authors of the University of Rochester report claimed that individuals simultaneously using several cosmetic products containing phthalates could lead to unhealthy levels of the chemical accumulating in the body.

Related topics Formulation & Science

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