California bans PFAS in cosmetics and textiles

Premium Beauty News

20 October 2022

California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed into law two bills banning per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in textiles and cosmetics. While some states have regulated or in some instances banned PFAS in certain products, California’s newest PFAS restrictions are some of the strictest in the USA.

California is once again at the forefront of the regulation of chemical substances in the United States. After having banned PFAS in paper-based food packaging and juvenile products on October 2021, the state is now prohibiting the substances in cosmetics and textiles.

"Forever chemicals"

Sometimes referred to as "forever chemicals," PFAS have been the subject of various studies and evaluations, some highlighting how these compounds can remain in the environment or have harmful effects on health. The adoption of these of restrictions on PFAS follows several warnings about their relatively frequent presence in many everyday consumer products.

Last year, a study published in Environmental Science & Technology Letters on 231 cosmetics purchased in the United States and Canada showed that sevaral of them contained PFAS. [1] In detail, more than three quarters of the waterproof mascaras analyzed — but also nearly two thirds of the foundations and liquid lipsticks, and more than half of the eye and lip products — had high concentrations of fluorine, the researchers stated.

On the heels of the publication of this study, two Senators had introduced a bill titled "No PFAS in Cosmetics Act" in order to require the FDA to ban the addition of PFAS to cosmetic products [2]. A similar proposal has been submitted in the House of Representatives [3], but both texts still need to be discussed.

Entry into force on January 1, 2025

However, Californian legislators moved faster than those in Washington. As far as textiles are concerned, Assembly Bill No. 1817 prohibits the manufacture, distribution, or sale within the state of any new articles containing regulated PFAS beginning January 1, 2025 [4].

When it comes to cosmetics, Assembly Bill No. 2771 prohibits the manufacture, distribution, or sale of any product in the state that contains “intentionally added PFAS” starting January 1, 2025 [5]. The text greatly expands on AB 2762, a bill passed on September 30, 2020, that banned the manufacture, distribution, or sale of 13 specified PFAS substances in cosmetic products.

Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS are defined as fluorinated organic chemicals containing at least one fully fluorinated carbon atom.

However, Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that would have required certain businesses to submit annual reports concerning the usage of PFAS in products sold or imported in California [6].


[1] "Fluorinated Compounds in North American Cosmetics", Heather D. Whitehead, Marta Venier, Yan Wu, Emi Eastman, Shannon Urbanik, Miriam L. Diamond, Anna Shalin, Heather Schwartz-Narbonne, Thomas A. Bruton, Arlene Blum, Zhanyun Wang, Megan Green, Meghanne Tighe, John T. Wilkinson, Sean McGuinness, and Graham F. Peaslee, in Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett. 2021, June 15, 2021

[2] S.2047 - No PFAS in Cosmetics Act

[3] H.R.3990 - No PFAS in Cosmetics Act

[4] AB 1817 by Assembly member Philip Ting (D-San Francisco) - Product safety: textile articles: perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

[5] AB 2771 by Assembly member Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) - Cosmetic products: safety.

[6] AB 2247 by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) - Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and PFAS products and product components: publicly accessible data collection interface.

The latest content