Washington state has signed the US’ strongest act regulating cosmetics and personal care into law.
The Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act (HB 1047), signed by Governor Jay Inslee, bans more chemicals of concern than any other state or federal law.
These include per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), lead, phthalates, formaldehyde-releasing agents.
The bans will take effect in 2025, except for formaldehyde releasers, which have a phased-in approach beginning 2026.
In addition to bans, the new act requires the assessment of chemicals that can impact vulnerable populations.
It also creates incentives for ‘safer’ products for small businesses and independent cosmetologists.
“You shouldn’t have to be a toxicologist to shop for personal care products. When products are on the shelf, we assume they are safe to use, but this is not always the case,” said the act’s sponsor, Washington State Representative Sharlett Mena, of the signing.
“Many cosmetics contain toxic chemicals and that those with the highest concentrations are often marketed to women of colour.”
Washington’s action builds on other state laws in six states, California, New York, Maryland, Minnesota, Maine and Colorado, which have also stepped up the regulation of substances used in cosmetics and personal care products.
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