The Oregon legislature passed a bill known as ‘Toxic-Free Cosmetics’ on Wednesday, which would require the public disclosure of all chemical ingredients on a company’s product webpage and ban the sale of the worst chemicals in cosmetics and personal care products with a vote of 33-21. The bill now heads to Governor Kotek for her signature.
Most people are surprised to learn that companies are allowed to use nearly any chemical they want as an ingredient in the personal care products they make. Just as alarming is the fact that the government doesn’t test those chemicals for safety or require any pre-market approval.
When most of us shampoo our hair, wash our hands, protect our skin from the sun, lotion our babies, or get ready for a night on the town, we’re unknowingly dousing our bodies with dozens of toxic chemicals that have been linked to serious health problems. The average woman uses 12 products containing 168 unique ingredients every day. Men, on the other hand, use 6 products daily with 85 unique ingredients, on average. Personal care products are of particular concern because we put them directly on our skin. This means chemicals in these products can be absorbed or inhaled.
The threat from these chemicals doesn’t end at our bodies. When these products are washed down the drain, they can end up in the wastewater and eventually into our waterways. PFAS chemicals don’t break down, so once they are in the environment, they are nearly impossible to remove, threatening wildlife and our drinking water.
“Products that we use on our bodies every day shouldn’t contain toxic ingredients that put our health and environment at risk,” said Celeste Meiffren-Swango, state director with Environment Oregon. “The Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act will protect Oregonians and our environment, and we urge Governor Kotek to sign this bill into law.”