What California's Assembly Bill 496 means for beauty brands selling in the US

By Julia Wray | Published: 16-Oct-2023

The state law aligns with ingredients banned in cosmetics in the European Union

California has passed into law a bill to prohibit the manufacturing and selling of cosmetics that contain certain ingredients.

This law updates the state’s 2020 Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act, which banned 24 chemicals from use in personal care products. 

Assembly Bill 496 adds 26 chemicals, not banned elsewhere in the US, to the list of prohibited ingredients, and commences 1 January 2027.

Assembly Bill 496’s cosmetic ingredients blacklist is said to align with ingredients banned in cosmetics under European Union (EU) law. 

The bill was authored by Assembly Member Laura Friedman and sponsored by nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG).

“Everyone from children to consumers will benefit,” EWG President Ken Cook said of Assembly Bill 496, and new California state laws on food safety (AB 418) and fibreglass in mattresses (AB 1059).

“All Californians will have better protections against harmful chemicals, thanks to these three vital new laws.”

An EWG statement also noted that because California has the largest economy in the US, companies reformulating products to comply with the state’s rules will likely also adjust to selling the same items in every other state.

However, the US’ Personal Care Product Council (PCPC), inferred that state laws were unnecessary in light of the US’ nationwide cosmetics regulatory overhaul, which is currently underway.

“State governments increasingly make policy decisions that have a global impact affecting a wide range of industries, including the personal care and beauty sectors,” the industry body said in a statement. 

It added: “The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the personal care products industry continuously strive to ensure cosmetics safety.

“The long-awaited Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act (MoCRA) of 2022 adds new requirements for manufacturers and new enforcement authorities for the FDA.”

The PCPC described MoCRA as “a significant milestone that modernises the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, better aligns with industry innovation and contributes to global regulatory alignment”.

The 26 banned ingredients under Assembly Bill 496 are:

  • Lily aldehyde  
  • Acetaldehyde  
  • Cyclohexylamine  
  • Cyclotetrasiloxane  
  • Phytonadione  
  • Sodium perborate  
  • Styrene  
  • Trichloroacetic acid  
  • Tricresyl phosphate  
  • Vinyl acetate  
  • 2-Chloracetamide  
  • Allyl isothiocyanate  
  • Anthraquinone  
  • Malachite green  
  • Oil from the seeds of Laurus nobilis L.  
  • Pyrogallol  
  • C.I. Disperse Blue 1  
  • Trisodium nitrilotriacetate  
  • A set of boron substances  
  • C.I. Disperse Blue 3  
  • Basic Green 1  
  • Basic Blue 7  
  • 3(or5)-((4-(benzylmethylamino)phenyl)azo)-1,2-(or1,4)-dimethyl-1H-1,2,4-triazolium and its salts  
  • Basic Violet 4  
  • Basic Blue 3  
  • Basic Blue 9

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