Disclosure of Chemicals in Cosmetics

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, June 22, 2005

Senator Carole Migden (D-San Francisco) is carrying SB 484 relating to "cosmetics and chronic health effects."  Scheduled to be heard in the Assembly Health Committee on June 28th, the bill is co-sponsored by Support Breast Cancer Action, the Breast Cancer Fund and the National Environmental Trust. 

SB 484 would require cosmetic manufacturers, whose products are sold in the state, to provide California Department of Health Services (DHS) information on each product they sell into the state, and to identify, by product, any ingredients used that include a chemical listed under Proposition 65 (the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act) or that has been identified by an authoritative body as a substance appearing on specified chemical lists.
This information is required whether or not the level or type of exposure to a chemical in a product poses an actual risk to consumers.  The chemical lists specified in SB 484 are generally developed from laboratory tests that generally involve feeding large amounts of the chemicals to rodents over a period of time.  This level or route of exposure is not typical for cosmetics.

Also, the bill does not restrict the type of information that DHS can require from manufacturers (pricing information, financial data, sales data, personnel records, etc.) and fails to protect such information from public disclosure.  Confidentiality and competitive issues will arise unless this information is protected. 

SB 484 requires DHS to determine if the 54 products listed in a 2004 Environmental Working Group report have been adequately substantiated for safety as required by federal regulations.  Of the more than 10,000 ingredients listed in the report’s data files, over half of them are actually name fragments or misspellings of other ingredients.  The DHS cost to sift through the chemical lists, the submitted information, and to administer and enforce the legislation would be significant. CMTA believes this bill, were it to become law, would lead to future legislation and taxes to support the effort.

The bill is based on fear and speculation rather than sound science.  No credible research has ever shown that any cosmetic or personal care products caused cancer or reproductive harm.  Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act rules require every ingredient used in a cosmetic product to be adequately substantiated for safety before it is marketed.

This bill will be discussed at the next CMTA Environmental Quality Committee meeting.

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