Analysis reveals at least 15 states will consider policies that restrict and/or require disclosure of chemicals of concern in cosmetics & PCP in 2024

By Cassandra Stern

- Last updated on GMT

“This sends a clear sign to manufacturers and suppliers that legislation is coming down the pike, and that they will need to do their part in making safer products available,” said Gretchen Salter, Strategic Advisor with Safer States. © ronstik Getty Images
“This sends a clear sign to manufacturers and suppliers that legislation is coming down the pike, and that they will need to do their part in making safer products available,” said Gretchen Salter, Strategic Advisor with Safer States. © ronstik Getty Images

Related tags PFAS forever chemicals Regulation Cosmetics Personal care

The list of states includes Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, and West Virginia.

Safer States, a self-described alliance of diverse environmental health organizations and coalitions across the US, has released a report analyzing “anticipated state legislation addressing toxic chemicals and plastics across the country” that “suggests that PFAS ‘forever chemicals’ could be banned in more uses than ever” in state bills this year. The analysis determined that “at least 36 states will consider more than 450 bills on toxic chemical and plastics related policies” in 2024, with 35 states anticipated to introduce policies banning PFAS and addressing “toxic plastics, safe drinking water, and hazardous chemicals in cosmetics and personal care products.

For key takeaways from the Safer States analysis, we spoke to Gretchen Salter, Strategic Advisor with Safer States, and Laurie Valeriano, executive Director of Toxic-Free Future, an advocacy group focused on environmental health research and activism, for their insights.

About the analysis

Safer States 2024 analysis “provides an overview of state policies introduced in 2024, introduced in 2023 and then carried over into 2024, or are anticipated to be introduced in 2024 as of the date of publication,” Salter explained, with “some of the policies listed in the analysis [being] part of a single bill.”

To compile the analysis, she shared, “Safer States uses a bill and legislative tracking software called Quorum,” and tracked bills are then imported into our website’s bill tracker, which feeds our annual analysis.”

Key takeaways regarding cosmetics and personal care

Specifically in cosmetics and personal care products, PFAS, or “forever chemicals,” can be found​ in lipsticks, foundations, and mascaras, Valeriano explained. Therefore, the cosmetics and personal care product industries have the potential to be impacted by the results of this year’s wave of regulatory policies addressing PFAS use in product manufacturing.

“One of our key takeaways from our 2024 analysis is that more and more states are beginning to address toxic chemicals and materials in personal care products,” said Salter. “This sends a clear sign to manufacturers and suppliers that legislation is coming down the pike,” she explained, “and that they will need to do their part in making safer products available.”

The analysis noted that in 2024, “at least 15 states will consider policies that restrict and/or require disclosure on chemicals of concern in cosmetics and personal care products including menstrual products.” The list of states includes Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, and West Virginia.

Future outlook

For manufacturers and suppliers of cosmetics and personal care products that may be impacted by regulatory action regarding PFAS, Valeriano noted that while “PFAS may be switched out for other chemicals, this can be concerning if the companies don’t assess the hazard of the chemicals they substitute and ensure they are safer.”

Therefore, she explained, “some companies are working with ChemFORWARD to assess chemical ingredients in cosmetics recognizing that regulations and restricted substances lists are insufficient” before upcoming regulatory actions. “This approach ensures the most hazardous chemicals are avoided while providing confidence that alternatives are actually safer,” she said.

She further added that “there is no way to mitigate PFAS use” and that “once PFAS are introduced into manufacturing or the products, they will create problems due to their extreme persistence.” As a result, she recommended that “removal and safer substitution is the only real solution.”

Valeriano advised that “companies will have to end their use of PFAS.” For example, she illustrated, “California, Washington and other states are banning them, and they won’t make products differently for some states.” Regarding the outlook of the regulatory landscape for cosmetics and personal care, she further stated that “cosmetic and personal care products companies should also be looking beyond PFAS to other hazardous chemicals,” as “consumers don’t want toxic ingredients in products they use on their bodies or flush down the drain.”

Considering that “the fact is that companies should be assessing the hazards of all of their ingredients and using the safest ones,” she concluded, “right now, laws aren’t keeping hazardous chemicals out of products so companies need to step up their actions.”

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