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Natural Awakenings Twin Cities

California Passes Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act

Toxin-Free Cosmetic Make-Up

laura chouette/

California governor Gavin Newsom has signed the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act into law, which bans 24 ingredients from cosmetics and personal care products sold within the state. The list includes mercury, formaldehyde, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, endocrine-disrupting phthalates and long-chain parabens used as preservatives, among other chemicals. Many have been linked to breast cancer, reproductive and neurological damage, birth defects, organ system toxicity and developmental delays.

National standards lag behind the rest of the world and have not been updated since being created in 1938. Despite the industry’s immense size, only two pages of the 829-page Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act govern cosmetics. The new California law will make products safer for everyone, but Black women stand to benefit more because they represent the biggest U.S. market for 
cosmetics. Environmental watchdog Treehugger notes that Black women account for an estimated 22 percent of the country’s $42-billion per year personal care products market, despite comprising less than 7 percent of the national population.