The Toxics-Free Cosmetics Act, heard today by the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee, would protect consumers of cosmetic products from dozens of harmful chemicals by banning the use and distribution of those chemicals in Washington state.

“Every single one of us knows someone – or is someone – who uses cosmetics,” said Sen. Mona Das (D-Kent), the bill’s sponsor. “We deserve to know what’s in the cosmetics we use, and we deserve a guarantee that those things are safe.”

SB 5703 bans some of the most concerning chemicals used in cosmetic products, including phthalates, per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), parabens and formaldehyde. The bans would go into effect in 2025. It builds on other similar laws adopted in California, Maryland and parts of Europe.

“It’s been demonstrated time and again that many of the toxic chemicals commonly used in makeup pose serious health concerns, including cancer, reproductive problems and developmental effects. They’ve also been found to pollute our environment,” Das said. “This bill affects, and protects, all of us – not only now but for generations to come.”

SB 5703 would require the Department of Ecology to work with the Department of Health to create and adopt a community engagement plan to:

  • Test cosmetic products marketed to communities of color and identify potentially harmful ingredients;
  • Seek information through outreach and provide culturally appropriate education concerning identified harmful ingredients used in cultural and cosmetic products; and
  • Obtain recommendations for priority chemicals or products to be regulated under the Safer Products for Washington program.

The legislation would also require manufacturers to more transparently disclose information about cosmetic products sold in the state, including:

  • Information that satisfies all labeling requirements under the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act; and
  • A list of chemicals or chemical classes added to a product if those chemicals have been identified by the Department of Ecology as chemicals of high concern for children or high-priority chemicals.

“This bill has received broad support from every corner of our state,” Das added. “Our neighbors are ready for industry to step up and take better care of the people who use their products, especially communities of color that have historically been targeted with marketing and outreach by the makers of these harmful products. It’s a matter of health and environmental well-being. We need to take action now.”

“This bill is critically needed to clean up the cosmetics industry,” said Laurie Valeriano, Executive Director of Toxic-Free Future. “There is no reason for companies to continue to use toxic chemicals like PFAS and phthalates in products we use on our bodies.”

Today’s public hearing of SB 5703 can be viewed here. The bill has until Feb. 3 to advance from committee.