California bill would ban toxic ‘forever chemicals’ from cosmetics

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Friday, California Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) introduced Assembly Bill 2771 to ban the sale in California of cosmetics and other personal care products containing the toxic “forever chemicals” known as PFAS.  If enacted, it would be the first-in-the-nation statewide ban on PFAS in beauty and personal care products.

“Exposure to PFAS compounds, even in very low doses, has been linked to serious health problems,” said Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale). “I’m authoring this bill because Californians shouldn’t have to worry that they’re putting their health, or the health of their loved ones, at risk by doing something as routine as applying lotion, or wearing makeup. Prohibiting the sale of personal care products that contain these forever chemicals is a critical step to reduce unnecessary exposure.”

Research has linked PFAS to serious health risks, including liver damage, birth defects and cancer. To make matters worse, these “forever chemicals” don’t break down in our bodies or in the environment. So, the more they get used, the more they build up and the bigger risk they pose to our health.

“Products we use on our bodies every day shouldn’t contain toxic ingredients that put our health at risk,” said Jenn Engstrom, state director of CALPIRG. “Yet every morning, many Californians are covering our bodies with toxic PFAS chemicals because they’re currently permitted — and in — our cosmetics and personal care products. We applaud Assemblymember Friedman for working to make sure what we put on our bodies is toxic-free.”

PFAS are used in products such as lotions, cleansers, shaving cream, lipstick, eyeliner and mascara to improve durability and texture, and to condition or smooth skin, or make it appear shiny. Cosmetics with the highest levels of PFAS are often marketed as waterproof, wear-resistant or long-lasting.

Last year, University of Notre Dame researchers tested 231 cosmetics for PFAS. More than half the products tested contained PFAS, yet most did not list any PFAS compounds on their ingredient labels. The study found more than three-quarters of waterproof mascara, nearly two-thirds of foundations and liquid lipsticks and more than half of eye and lip products had high fluorine concentrations, indicating the likely presence of PFAS.

“Two years ago, California led the nation when it banned 13 PFAS from use in personal care products. It’s time to prohibit all these toxic compounds from the products we use daily,” said Susan Little, senior advocate for California government affairs at the Environmental Working Group. “Consumers are demanding safer products, and this bill will help protect people from further exposure to toxic PFAS.”

AB 2771 is co-sponsored by the Environmental Working Group, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners and CALPIRG.

“PFAS chemicals that are linked to breast cancer, pollute our drinking water and persist in the environment forever are too big a price to pay for beauty,” said Janet Nudelman, Director of Breast Cancer Prevention Partner’s Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. “Women living with breast cancer shouldn’t have to wonder or worry if their daily use of a favorite lipstick or lotion is increasing their risk of a recurrence of this devastating disease.”

Currently, six other states have introduced bills to ban PFAS in personal care products. While legislation is pending — and in the 43 states without any imminent legislation — consumers who want to limit their PFAS exposure should avoid most products marketed as waterproof, grease-resistant or long-lasting. They also should look for a “PFAS free” label on products. People also can use the Skin Deep database to find products that may contain PFAS, and choose options that don’t include these forever chemicals as an ingredient.


CALPIRG, the California Public Interest Research Group, is a statewide nonprofit organization that works to protect public health and consumers. Learn more at

The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.

Breast Cancer Prevention Partners is the leading national science-based, policy and advocacy organization focused on preventing breast cancer by eliminating our exposure to toxic chemicals and radiation. Learn more at