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Reps. Lizzie Fletcher and Jan Schakowsky Introduce Toxic-Free Beauty Act

Today, Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07) and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) introduced the Toxic-Free Beauty Act, legislation that prohibits the use of certain hazardous chemicals from personal and professional care, beauty, and salon products sold in the United States. 

Some of the chemicals used to create personal and professional care, beauty, and salon products have been linked to serious harm to human health and the environment, but to date, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only banned or restricted eleven chemicals.  Through the Toxic-Free Beauty Act, products containing certain toxic chemicals would be officially considered harmful for consumers by the FDA and result in enforcement against these products, effectively banning the chemicals from use.

“Many people assume that the personal care and beauty items they use are safe, but with minimal oversight, many of the care, beauty, and salon products sold across the country actually contain toxic chemicals,” said Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher.  “I’m glad to partner with Congresswoman Schakowsky to introduce the Toxic-Free Beauty Act to protect the health and safety of people across the country by banning chemicals known to cause significant harm in beauty products.” 

“As part of the Safer Beauty Bill Package, I am introducing the Toxic-free Beauty Act of 2021 with my colleague Rep. Fletcher,” said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.  “This bill will protect consumers by banning eleven of the most toxic chemicals found in cosmetics and personal care products and the entire class of Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals.  After 80 years, it is time that we update our nation’s cosmetics laws to ensure our personal care products are safe all the way from production to consumer use.”

The Toxic-Free Beauty Act prohibits the use of the following chemicals in personal and professional beauty, care, and salon products sold in the United States, bringing federal standards in line with recently enacted standards in Maryland and California and the European Union:

  • DBP and DEHP: two phthalates found in nail polish and fragrance that are linked to birth defects, breast cancer, and endocrine disruption; 
  • Formaldehyde, paraformaldehyde, and methylene glycol: three different kinds of formaldehyde found in hair straightening and smoothing products that are linked to cancer, skin irritation, and respiratory harm;
  • Quaterniun-15: a formaldehyde-releasing preservative found in body wash, make-up, hair products, and baby shampoo that are linked to cancer, skin irritation, and respiratory harm; 
  • Isobutylparaben and isopropylparaben: parabens found in sunscreens, lotions, eye liner, blush, and hair products that are linked to breast cancer, reproductive harm, and endocrine disruption; 
  • M-Phenylenediamine and o-Phenylenediamine: chemicals used in hair dye and linked to skin sensitization, cancer, mutagenicity, and organ system toxicity; 
  • Mercury: although banned in the U.S except as a preservative in products around the eyes, mercury can still be found in skin lightening creams, beauty and antiseptic soaps, and lotions, and it can negatively impact the brain and nervous system; and
  • PFAS chemicals: These chemicals are linked to breast cancer, birth defects, thyroid disease, liver damage, decreased fertility, and hormone disruption.  A recent Clearya search of 50,000 beauty and personal care products found 1,000 products from 120 brands contained at least one added PFAS chemical.