Be Natural Organics is writing in support of AB 496, authored by Assembly member Laura Friedman, and
sponsored by the Environmental Working Group.
This important bill will add to the list of chemicals that California does not allow in cosmetics
sold in the state. In particular, AB 496 prohibits the sale in California of beauty and personal
care products containing any one of 26 highly toxic chemicals that pose public health harms,
such as increased risk of cancer, harm to the reproductive system, and harm to aquatic life with
long-lasting effects. The environmental risks of these 26 chemicals are particularly concerning
because cosmetics are regularly washed off after use. All of the AB 496-listed chemicals are
already prohibited from being used in cosmetics sold in the European Union.
Today, personal care and beauty products (generally termed cosmetics) that are sold in California
and the United States are largely unregulated. Aside from the 13 chemicals and class of PFAS
substances banned from use in cosmetics in California, manufacturers can use practically any
chemical to formulate a cosmetic product. And manufacturers often use chemicals with well-
established links to cancer, reproductive harm or birth defects. Equally troubling, neither federal
nor state laws require premarket testing by cosmetic manufacturers or their regulatory agencies
to ensure that these products are safe before they hit store shelves.
Out of the more than 10,000 chemicals used to formulate beauty and personal care products, the
United States Food and Drug Administration has only ever banned or restricted 11. In contrast,
the European Union prohibits or restricts the use of nearly 1,600 chemicals in cosmetics, and
many other countries tightly regulate cosmetics sold to their citizens.
Californians, unfortunately, remain largely unprotected. According to the California Department
of Public Health’s Safe Cosmetics Program, at least 88 different carcinogens and reproductive
toxicants are intentionally added to cosmetics sold in California today.
Men, women, and children of all ages regularly use personal care products and beauty products.
In fact, young women – women of child-bearing age – often use up to 16 products each day, and
studies have shown that human bodies absorb the products’ chemicals. Californians need and
deserve the same protections from harmful cosmetics provided to people that shop for the exact
same products in the European Union and numerous other countries.
Please help to continue California’s effort to ensure that personal care products sold in the state
are safe to use. We would appreciate your support for AB 496 when it is heard by your