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Breaking: The First U.S. State Just Banned Harmful Chemicals In Beauty Products

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Image by snorkulencija // iStock
October 1, 2020

This just in: California is the first U.S. state to ban certain chemicals in beauty products. 

The bill (called the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act) was actually introduced back in June—an exciting leap forward for clean beauty in and of itself, but now that bill is officially signed into law by the state governor. Consider California's beauty shelves officially cleaned up.

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More about the bill. 

The Toxic Free Cosmetics Act officially bans 24 harmful chemicals in household beauty products (waterproof makeup, sunscreens, shampoos, hair straighteners, et al.), including mercury, several types of formaldehyde, phthalates, parabens, and PFAs. Some of these chemicals you can find spelled out on beauty labels, but many actually sneak in under general fragrance, so they're not always transparently outlined on ingredient lists—and thus are a bit more difficult to parse while browsing for beauty.

Under this new law, beauty products are prohibited from including any of these ingredients from the get-go. But that's not all: "It will also allow the attorney general of California to require the halt of sale of products, as well as require products to be removed from the shelves," Susan Little, senior advocate for California government affairs at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), has previously told mbg about the co-sponsored bill. "That's why the bill is so helpful." 

What does this mean?

"This marks a momentous milestone in the history of cosmetics regulation," says Ken Cook, president of the EWG in a news release. He's certainly not wrong: For those who reside in the Golden State, browsing for safe and clean beauty products just became a whole lot easier. 

As for non-Californians, just because there's no state law set in stone doesn't mean you can't take it upon yourself to avoid these ingredients in your products. Just continue to peer at your labels and read up on any players that sound a bit iffy—all it takes is a bit more legwork.

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