Governor Signs Nation's First Law on
 Chemicals in Cosmetics

 New California Law Requires Disclosure of Toxic Ingredients

 OAKLAND, Calif., Oct. 10 - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill
 Saturday that will require cosmetics manufacturers to disclose which of their
 products contain chemicals linked to cancer, reproductive harm or
 developmental toxicity - a first-ever accounting of companies using
 potentially damaging ingredients, and a first-line protection for consumers.
 The newly passed bill, the California Safe Cosmetics Act of 2005, was
 vigorously opposed by an industry accustomed to free rein when it comes to ingredient safety.

 Environmental Working Group (EWG) researchers today offer California
 consumers a preview of cosmetic companies and products that face
 exposure through this bill. In an assessment of ingredients in 7,500 personal
 care products, EWG uncovered 155 products that contain known or
 suspected carcinogens or reproductive and developmental toxins. These
 products are manufactured by Avon, Grecian Formula, Wet 'N Wild and other companies, and span a diverse range of products from nail polish to body creams and lip balm. 

 The Safe Cosmetics Act will require manufacturers to disclose to the
 Department of Health Services (DHS) ingredients in their products known by the state to cause cancer or birth defects, and would authorize DHS to
 investigate the health impacts of these chemicals. The law will also require
 companies to divulge hidden, harmful ingredients in fragrances and flavors.

 "The protections in this act buttress a federal cosmetic safety system that
 leaves consumers at risk," said Jane Houlihan, vice president for research at
 EWG. "It may be legal for companies to use cancer-causing chemicals in
 products, but now, in California, consumers will have the unique right to
 know about potentially harmful ingredients."

 Although our investigations have uncovered known, toxic ingredients used
 by the mainstream cosmetics industry, we found that what is not known
 about ingredient safety is just as troublesome. Our research shows that only
 11 percent of the 10,500 cosmetic ingredients catalogued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been publicly assessed for safety by  the FDA, the industry's internal safety panel (the Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel) or any other publicly accountable institution. FDA lacks the authority to require premarket safety tests of cosmetics, and the industry has free rein to use any chemical in their products, save nine chemicals banned or restricted by FDA in its 30-year history of cosmetic regulation.

 "Our hope is that the threat of public exposure in California will encourage
 companies to switch to safer formulations, not only in California but
 nationwide," said Houlihan. EWG's investigation of 7,500 personal care
 products, including a searchable safety database for consumers, is at

SB 484 was supported by a wide range of public health organizations, including Catholic Health Care West and advocates for Asian-Americans health services, as well as organized labor.  The vast majority of California salon workers are of Asian descent.

The author of SB 484, Senator Carole Migden (D-San Francisco), applauded Governor Schwarzenegger’s action: “This is the strongest bill in the nation to protect cosmetics consumers.  It will go a long way to protect public health.” 

Schwarzenegger signed the law against a backdrop of new science related to chemicals in cosmetics. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that exposure to certain phthalates—compounds that are used in many cosmetics products—is increasing. A recent study for the National Study for Environmental Health Sciences linked higher phthalate exposure by pregnant women to birth defects and developmental problems in infant boys. Though these health affects have long been established in animal studies, recent research has shown that even very low levels of the compounds can impair reproductive development and cause birth defects.

“The chemical industry opposed this bill as though it were a peasant revolt rather than a right to know bill,” said Igrejas, Andy Igrejas, Environmental Health Director of the National Environmental Trust. “Now we’ll find out what they were so afraid of.”

Over 20 California cosmetics manufacturers supported SB 484. Two-hundred companies, including Neways, Burt’s Bees and The Body Shop, have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, a pledge to replace hazardous ingredients with safer alternatives within three years, circulated by the national Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.


For safe products without harmful chemicals