For a large portion of Washingtonians, using cosmetics is part of their daily routine, but some of these same household products often contain harmful chemicals that pose a variety of health risks.
A bill pending in the Legislative Assembly will require manufacturers to meet more transparent labeling requirements. Similar bills that monitor and prevent the distribution of cosmetics have already been passed in California and Maryland.
“This is a simple bill that will have a huge impact on the health and well-being of many in our community. said Sen. Mona Das, D-Kent.
Dr Ami Zota, professor of environmental occupational health at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, said while anyone can be exposed, women of childbearing age and those from underrepresented groups are most vulnerable. and the most disproportionately affected.
“Compared to white women, women of color have higher levels of beauty product-related environmental chemicals in their bodies and these differences are not explained by differences in income.”
According to Zota, black women spent more than $5 million on beauty product services in 2014. Her research shows that black women not only use more types of personal care products, but the products intended for them contain more toxic chemicals.
A growing scientific consensus is forming on the health effects of long-term inadvertent exposure to chemicals such as phthalates and parabens, commonly found in beauty products. These chemicals enter the body through the skin, hair and through the air from dust.
At the Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee meeting on January 12, a proposal was presented regulating the manufacture, sale and distribution of any cosmetic products containing toxic chemicals.
“This law aims to protect our communities from the extremely harmful toxic product,” Das said. Since some chemicals used in products are linked to adverse health effects such as cancer, birth defects, damage to reproductive systems, organ system toxicity, and endocrine disruption. Many of them have already been identified by the state as high priority chemicals.
Lindsay Dahl of Beautycounter, a cosmetics company whose goal is to sell safer skincare, said the beauty industry is severely underregulated and that banning these chemicals does not hinder the industry’s ability to meet consumer expectations. “This job is tough, but it’s the right thing to do,” Dahl said.
Nora Burnes of the Personal Care Products Council said she hoped some amendments to the bill could be made.
“We must avoid inadvertently setting up a national patchwork that isolates our consumers and our retailers,” she said. Barnes hopes to continue discussions about amending the bill to align state legislation with the European Union’s list of banned cosmetic ingredients and believes global alignments would benefit manufacturers and provide good protection for consumers. .
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