Policy Win: California Bans PFAS, Commonly Known as “Forever Chemicals,” From All Cosmetics 

Policy Win: California Bans PFAS, Commonly Known as “Forever Chemicals,” From All Cosmetics 

Last month, Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation that bans intentionally added per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), commonly referred to as “forever chemicals,” from all cosmetics sold in California.

Co-sponsored by two Beautycounter partners, the Environmental Working Group and Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, The PFAS-Free Beauty Act is the latest of California’s hard-hitting actions to tackle PFAS.

This marks a huge win for the clean beauty industry. Unless cosmetics companies intend to formulate California-specific products, they will need to ensure that all products sold nationally are compliant with this new California law.

Here’s a quick primer on PFAS: These chemicals are used in a variety of applications, and in beauty they can be used to create products like long-lasting lipstick, longwear foundation, and waterproof mascara. PFAS have been linked to a potential cause of cancer and numerous health harms. They are also known to pollute drinking water and persist in the environment, harming wildlife and ecosystems—along with people. That’s why Beautcyounter bans formulators from using PFAS ingredients in our products; they were added to The Never List™ years ago.

An important thing to note about PFAS is that they can appear at various points across the beauty product supply chain, such as cleaners used on manufacturing equipment, undisclosed treatments of packaging and raw materials, and coatings for containers used for shipping raw materials and formulas.

These supply chain complexities play a significant role in why we advocate for more regulation and have openly addressed the issue with consumers. So, while a company may source with a higher standard of safety and quality in mind, trace levels of a chemical may inadvertently be introduced into a cosmetic product due to the complexities of the supply chain.

At Beautycounter, we work hard to minimize risks for a product to contain trace levels of a Never List™ chemical, due to inadvertent contamination through product testing and substantial disclosures from our suppliers.

Nonetheless, cleaning up the entire beauty industry is virtually impossible without strong federal regulation that holds all parties along the supply chain accountable. We are proud that Beautycounter has been the most outspoken brand on Capitol Hill calling for supply chain transparency measures to be included in federal legislation.

While this California victory is a major step in the right direction and absolutely should be celebrated, we still have a long way to go. Please join us as we continue to call on Congress to take action that ensures public health, and the environment are protected from harmful exposures associated with the beauty and personal industry. We will continue to keep you up to date on this important work and in the meantime, you can support our efforts by texting BANPFAS to 52886 to ask Congress for federal change.