Laia Nalian- Safe Cosmetics Act by Cynthia Washam

This news article from Environmental Health Perspectives talks about California’s enactment of a new Act that involves manufacturers reporting any use of “potentially hazardous ingredients to the state Department of Health Services”(A 402). Through this, the public will be alerted to the same potentially toxic chemicals within any cosmetics. The article discusses the background of the Act as well, where there is a foundation of concern on the long-term effects of certain ingredients within beauty products. Under the Act, the DHS also can investigate the toxicity of a product as well as requiring manufacturers to report data on any health effects with the promise of legal action if there is no compliance.

Something interesting about this Act passing is that same motions may have the potential to be enacted nationwide. Although it is less about concern for public safety and more about risk of “negative publicity”, manufacturers have started to remove potentially toxic ingredients rather than outright reporting them. A small tidbit of information also proved striking, where the formulas that remove these ingredients would be marketed all over the nation to other brands, which reinforces an agenda that, ultimately, focuses on money-making. Although the article mentions studies on certain ingredients’ effects on health, I was more interested in what it had to say in terms of legal history of cosmetic ingredients. The author states that control over what ingredients to be used were mainly in the hands of manufacturers and provides more insight into the brands’ relationship with authority and regulation of specific ingredients. In addition, Warsham expounds on reactions to the Act, especially by manufacturers in that state legislature shouldn’t regulate compounds in cosmetics, only federal legislature. At the same time, the author includes another vein of the argument concerning the ingredients themselves: researchers argue that any mention of evidence is more than enough reason to ban ingredients, while others argue that the dosage is what counts more.

This article was an excellent source in terms of shedding light to the legal process of regulating chemicals in cosmetics. Once again, the author was unbiased in providing information without taking specific sides and simply outlining the circumstances of the Act and the history and reaction.