Lawmakers took another step toward controlling the intentional use of the toxic chemical PFAS in cosmetics sold in California recently when the Assembly passed cosmetic safety legislation, Assembly Bill 2771. .
PFAS are commonly identified as toxic “eternal chemicals” because they do not break down in the environment or accumulate in the blood and organs.
“Exposure to PFAS compounds, even at very low doses, has been linked to serious health problems,” said Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), who introduced Bill 2771 to the Assembly. “I drafted this bill because Californians shouldn’t have worried about putting their health or the health of their loved ones at risk by doing something as routine as applying lotion or applying makeup. .
In 2018, EWG scientists surveyed the Skin Deep® database, which provides ingredient lists and safety ratings for more than 85,000 cosmetic and personal care products, to see which contained PFAS. The report found that researchers identified 13 types of PFAS in more than 300 products. The products were found among more than 50 brands.
“Banning the sale of personal care products containing these chemicals forever is a critical step toward reducing unnecessary exposure,” Friedman added. Forever chemicals are used in products such as dental floss, lotions, cleansers, shaving cream, lipstick, eyeliner and mascara to supposedly improve durability, texture, condition or smooth the skin, or give it a shiny appearance. Experts report that cosmetics with the highest levels of PFAS are often marketed as “waterproof, wear-resistant, or long-lasting.”
“Concerns are growing worldwide about the toxicity and environmental persistence of PFAS chemicals. To combat PFAS pollution of our bodies and the environment, all non-essential uses of PFAS must be immediately restricted,” said Susan Little, Environmental Working Group (EWG) Susan Little, Senior Counsel for California government business.
Little made the comments last October when Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation restricting the use of PFAS in food packaging and paper straws beginning January 1, 2023.
When Newsom signed the legislation last year, it came more than a decade after experts warned of health problems posed by perfluorinated chemicals (PFAS) known to cause cancer and d other harmful effects.
However, despite the warnings, a report published by EWG in 2017 found that fast food companies continue to use products such as wrappers, bags, boxes, etc. coated with PFAS. Four years later, in 2021, California passed legislation to protect its residents.
Also on January 1, 2023, manufacturers will be required to list – on their publicly accessible websites – all chemicals found in their pots, pans and other cookware and will be prohibited from making false marketing claims that lead customers to believe their products are PFAS-free. .
Following the same initiative, starting January 1, 2024, manufacturers must begin labeling cookware with toxic chemicals on the handles or in the liners.
“For the first time, cookware manufacturers must disclose on labels the chemicals found in the surface coatings of their products,” Little said.
Very low doses of PFAS in drinking water have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, reproductive and immune system damage, and liver and thyroid disease. Exposure to PFAS is also linked to interference with vaccines and is associated with a high risk of breast cancer, increased cholesterol and other serious health problems, explained the EWG in a recent statement to the press.
According to the non-profit organization Safer Chemicals, at least 14 fast-casual restaurant chains with more than 123,534 stores and more than $203.2 billion in collective annual sales, have pledged to eliminate PFAS in packaging. food. Those involved include Burger King, McDonalds, Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, among others.
Only time will tell if makeup and other industries that may be impacted by the CA Senate’s potential passage of AB 2771 and the Governor’s potential signing of the law will also be socially sensitive.
The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that enables people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy, and unique educational tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.