Bill would ban usage of harmful chemicals

Amy Alcantara
Staff Writer

Assembly Bill 496 was introduced by California Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D – Glendale) on Feb. 7. If passed, this bill will ban the use of 26 toxic chemicals used in cosmetic products that are known to cause health and skin problems.

In September 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the California Toxic-Free Cosmetic Act (AB 2762). The new law will go into effect in January 2025 and will ban 24 chemicals used in personal care products that are known to be toxic.

“I definitely think it’s good. I’m heavy on chemicals going on makeup because my skin is sensitive,” Esther Yoo, junior biology major, said. “I try to not wear makeup I don’t know about.”

Friedman, along with the Environmental Working Group, which is sponsoring AB 496, are aiming to add 26 more chemicals to the 2020 law. This includes certain colors in addition to chemicals such as cyclotetrasiloxane, lily aldehyde, trichloroacetic acid, allyl isothiocyanate, oil from the seeds of Laurus nobilis L. and some boron substances among others, according to AB 496.

Some people may not be aware that these chemicals are in their personal care or cosmetic products. Even if they were to read the label most do not know how harmful the chemicals may be. .

“If we can’t pronounce it, it shouldn’t be going in our body or get absorbed in some way,” Sandra Khopon, the owner of PMU Beauty Studio and Academy, said. “My take would be to ban them. It should have been done a long time ago.”

Khopon has her bachelor’s degree in public health which goes hand-in-hand with her ombre powder brows and fine line tattoo business. She said it has helped her understand which products and chemicals are safe to use on her clients.

“I want to use the best products that don’t cause cancer, blood pathogens, etc. because if toxins enter our bodies it can harm us or our blood,” Khopon said.

According to the article by Environmental Working Group, “California First State to Ban 24 Toxic Chemicals in Personal Care Products and Cosmetics,” most of the time people assume manufacturers know what chemicals are being put into the products they use and trust they are safe. The toxic chemicals that have been banned in the 2020 law are linked to health issues such as organ system toxicity, birth defects, disruption in the endocrine system and reproductive system damage.

Another EWG article, “California Bill Would Ban Cosmetics With Chemicals Linked to Cancer, Reproductive Harm,”, states the chemicals under the proposed bill AB 496 are linked to a high risk of cancer, organ and eye damage, skin burns, genetic defects and infertility. They are not only harmful to humans but also cause aquatic life toxicity.

Pauline Bautista, the owner of Beautify by Pauline, said although some people may know which products they are allergic to they do not fully know all of the chemicals they can have a bad reaction to. Those toxic chemicals that are used in cosmetic and personal care products can severely damage a person’s skin. She said she researches the products she uses on her clients during facials.

“I use products that have ingredients that are super gentle, calming and no animal testing. I do think this law will have a positive impact,” Bautista said.

California is the first state to pass this law banning toxic chemicals for the safety of its residents. It is joining more than 80 nations that have strict laws prohibiting or restricting chemicals that are not safe for human use. The U.S. has not regulated the cosmetic industry enough.

“I think it’s a good start to start in California because we have the largest population than any other state,” Breanna Walker, Rancho Cucamonga resident, said. “Maybe they will think ‘If California does it then maybe we should too.’”

Amy Alcantara can be reached at

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