The Toxic Chemical Ban Transforms from Bill to Law

At the end of September of this year, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a toxic chemical ban, marking California’s new law to change many things in the cosmetics industry’s manufacture and use of beauty products. According to activists and industry administrators, the law promotes the country’s transition of chemical compositions found in hair straighteners, shampoos, cosmetics, and other personal-care necessities.

The new toxic chemical law prohibits the inclusion of dangerous substances in everyday beauty products, covering 24 chemicals, including formaldehyde, PFAS, and mercury. Campaigners argued that all chemical toxins that are poisonous or carcinogenic deserve no place in cosmetics.

After almost 100 years, the newly signed law will mark California’s first step to eradicate the inclusion of toxic chemicals found in beauty products. Since 1938, the Food and Drug Administration authorized only 11 additives in personal-care products at the time. The European Union, meanwhile, does the opposite – more than 1,600 cosmetics ingredients and chemicals got banned by the said association. Moreover, California’s toxic chemicals ban would take effect by the year 2025 arrives.

Organizations’ Perspectives on the Ban’s Approval

California Public Interest research executive director Emily Rusch stated that the newly approved California law is United States’ vast milestone for the state’s cosmetics safety. The said research group heavily participated in the bill’s progress until its passing, along with the aid of both houses of the Legislature. 

Several organizations were against the bill at first, and one of them is the Personal Care Products Council, which represents big cosmetics corporations such as Chanel and Amway. Despite their reluctance during the bill’s first introduction, the council members gradually accepted the proposition and directly helped lawmakers draft the ban’s finalized draft. According to the council’s government affairs vice president Mike Thompson, doing business in California is also doing business in the United States. He assumed that the previously mentioned mentality would create new standards in the nation’s cosmetics field.

Moreover, the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners program and policy director Janet Nudelman stated that the group strongly advocates for the toxic chemicals ban bill to get signed due to many of the prohibited ingredients causing a rise in cases of breast cancer instances.  

The California Law’s Benefits, Ramsburg’s Chemical Experiences, and Past Cosmetics Studies

The California law also adds relief to employees regularly working at salons. Kristi Ramsburg, a hairdresser in Wilmington, N.C., expressed her ease of knowing that toxic chemicals would become less present in her workplace. According to Ramsburg, her 20-year job as a salon worker made her openly exposed to dangerous hair chemicals such as phthalates and formaldehyde, especially when she does straightening jobs on her clients three to four times weekly. She noted experiencing changes in vision, sore throats, and dizziness as side effects. Additionally, Rumsburg also admitted that performing Brazilian Blowout procedures made her almost cry several times due to the strong chemicals included in the hair products required for the task.

Furthermore, Ramsburg firmly believes that she experienced severe health damages due to prolonged exposures to dangerous toxins found in the hair products she uses for her clients. According to her previous circumstances, she had multiple surgeries to remove her appendix, gallbladder, and ovaries within six years in the past. Based on the numerous studies she had read, her ten-year exposure to formaldehyde is the main culprit behind her liver swelling. Additionally, Ramsburg’s medical consultations also confirmed that the specific chemical causes her health to deteriorate over time. 

Researches dating back from the 1900s support Rambutg’s suspicions. According to those studies, breathing even little amounts of formaldehyde could cause health complications such as the swelling of the liver or experiencing pneumonia. Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration listed formaldehyde as a type of carcinogen, which is deadly to the body upon exposure for long periods.

Due to the passing of the law, campaigners demand cosmetics manufacturing companies remain transparent and consistent in what chemicals they used to create their personal-care products. The previously mentioned request is to ensure the health and safety of hair and makeup consumers.