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California Safe Cosmetics Program Launches Product Ingredient Database

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January 24, 2014Kirsten WallerstedtBlog

Early last week, the California Safe Cosmetics Program (CSCP) publicly launched its new searchable cosmetic product database. Under the California Safe Cosmetics Act, cosmetic companies are required to provide data on products that contain a chemical ingredient known to cause cancer or reproductive harm.

Users can now search for products based on the company, brand name, product name, or chemical ingredients. The database also contains toxicological data on the ingredients which includes known or suspected health impacts of that ingredient. If a product is reformulated after it is placed in the database, the database will provide a “date removed” notation on the product’s page.

The database was launched as part of the California Safe Cosmetics Act is, a state law that was passed in 2005 that requires companies to report cosmetics products sold within the state that contain ingredients known or suspected to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. Like Proposition 65 (The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986), the Act does not ban use of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or reproductive system damage, but it instead requires companies to make this information available to the public.

The Act applies to manufacturers, packers, and distributors that both sell cosmetic products in California, and have annual aggregate sales of $1 million or more in cosmetic products. Cosmetics are defined by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act as products applied to the body for the purpose of “cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance.” Examples of such products include moisturizers, shampoos, deodorants, makeup, nail polish, and hair dye.

Companies and brands that have products listed in the database may find that they need to reformulate due to decrease in demand or the threat of public information campaigns.

According to the Safe Cosmetic Act website, California is the only government agency that currently requires companies to submit information on the ingredients in cosmetic products. Because flavor and fragrance ingredients are exempt from FDA labeling requirements, the CSCP is also one of the very few sources of flavor and fragrance ingredient and toxicity information.