Cosmetics Ban May Be Dead

By Loretta Macktal, Executive Assistant to the Vice President, Government Relations

Capitol Update, May 7, 2004 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

AB 2025 (Judy Chu, D-Monterey Park) was initially a spot bill pertaining to adulterated cosmetics. However, it was amended on April 12th to ban the manufacture, processing and/or distribution of cosmetics or personal care products that contain ingredients banned by the European Union, effective January 1, 2006. The bill was amended again on April 15th to pertain specifically to those "chemicals identified as causing cancer or reproductive toxicity" and providing for exclusion if a "safe use" determination is attained from the Cal EPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA).

There is conflicting evidence whether the cancer producing chemicals identified would, in fact, cause cancer when present in applied cosmetic and personal care products which are dermally applied. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) already requires each ingredient used in a cosmetic product be adequately substantiated for safety before it is marketed. Any product that is not adequately substantiated would be considered misbranded and would thus be illegal, unless it conspicuously displayed a warning statement. The FDA and California State already have authority to ensure that cosmetics are safe for use.

The safe use determination process provides little comfort. It has proved unworkable as it pertains to Prop 65. In addition, this bill would set a troubling precedent. The State would be taking its cue from the European Union, restricting the involvement of stakeholders by limiting the government’s ability to work through an open, transparent and participatory process in establishing a regulatory program. It would be essentially abdicating its responsibility by transferring decision-making to a foreign government.

While the bill was pulled from the Assembly Committee on Health, the cosponsors (National Environmental Trust and Breast Cancer Action) have stated their intent to look for another vehicle to move the legislation this year.
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