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Issue 47
, 2014
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Do Toxic Chemicals Lurk in Your Lipstick?

Source: Environmental Leader, Date: , 2014

A searchable website that allows the public to see which cosmetic products have been reported to contain toxic chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive harm is now online.

Users can search the California Safe Cosmetics Program (CSCP) Product Database by product name, company name or chemical ingredient. As of November 2013, about 475 companies had submitted product information on roughly 30,000 products to the California Department of Public Health-run program.The website also includes educational information about how exposure to chemicals can affect health and what is known about specific chemicals.

Inclusion in the website does not necessarily mean that a product has been shown to cause cancer or other harmful health effects because products that contain even low levels of potentially harmful chemicals must report to the program. The website does not list the amount of the reportable chemicals in products.

The website is intended to make information reported bycosmetics companies under the California Safe Cosmetics Act of 2005 publically available. The law requires cosmetics companies to report to the program if their products are sold in California, the company has more than $1 million per year in aggregate cosmetic sales, and products containing any chemical ingredient that has been found to cause cancer or reproductive harm.

California’s Safer Consumer Products initiative took effect Oct. 1, 2013. Under the new regulations, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) will develop a set of products, called “priority products,” that contain one of about 150 toxic chemicals — such as bisphenol A, a chemical known to cause reproductive toxicity found in baby bottles, food and beverage packaging and CDs, among other products — included on the list. Regulators will ask manufacturers of priority products to evaluate the design of these products and to replace these chemicals with safer alternatives if feasible.

By April, DTSC will select up to five priority products based upon such factors as the extent of their use, the potential for public exposure to the toxic ingredient, and how the products eventually are disposed.