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California’s AB 2762: How This Law Affects Cosmetics Manufacturers

Richard Block

Jul 5, 2021 · 5 min read

In the last few months, a California law has been making waves among Cosmetics Creators.

Signed into law in September 2020, AB 2762 (the AB is short for Assembly Bill) bans 12 ingredients from being included in any cosmetic product sold in the state.

The ingredients are:

  1. Dibutyl phthalate
  2. Diethylhexyl phthalate
  3. Formaldehyde
  4. Paraformaldehyde
  5. Methylene glycol
  6. Quaternium-15
  7. Mercury
  8. Isobutylparaben
  9. Isopropylparaben
  10. m-Phenylenediamine and its salts
  11. o-Phenylenediamine and its salts
  12. The following per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and their salts:
    1. Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS); heptadecafluorooctane-1-sulfonic acid
    2. Potassium perfluorooctanesulfonate; potassium heptadecafluorooctane-1-sulfonate
    3. Diethanolamine perfluorooctane sulfonate
    4. Ammonium perfluorooctane sulfonate; ammonium heptadecafluorooctanesulfonate
    5. Lithium perfluorooctane sulfonate; lithium heptadecafluorooctanesulfonate
    6. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
    7. Ammonium pentadecafluorooctanoate
    8. Nonadecafluorodecanoic acid
    9. Ammonium nonadecafluorodecanoate
    10. Sodium nonadecafluorodecanoate
    11. Perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA)
    12. Sodium heptadecafluorononanoate
    13. Ammonium perfluorononanoate

According to the Environmental Working Group, the law “moves the industry one step closer to global regulatory alignment.” These ingredients are already banned from personal-care products sold in the European Union and elsewhere.

The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2025. As of that date, if you want to sell cosmetics in California, you will need to make sure that any formulation you use does not contain any of the above chemicals.

I’m Not in California. Does This Apply To Me?

California can’t regulate what is sold in other states. But California law can influence the rest of the country’s business practices just because of how populous and wealthy the state is.

If a business wants to sell nationwide, it makes sense to ensure it’s able to sell in California; otherwise, it could be leaving a lot of revenue on the table.

This leads to situations like we see in the auto industry. When California introduced fuel-economy and emissions standards for cars that were stricter than the rest of the country’s, automakers complained, but the rules stood; as of July 2021, the United States is in the process of aligning to California’s rules. California’s share of the American auto market means that car makers have to invest large sums of money just so they could continue selling there—better that than pass up more than 10% of their potential U.S. revenue.

“As California goes, so goes the nation,” is a pretty common saying these days. In regulatory matters, it’s been true more than once. Could that be happening now, with cosmetics? We’ll see once the law takes effect.

Is This About The Cancer Warnings?

In the past several years, American consumers have noticed that many products bought online now carry warnings that they may cause cancer or reproductive health. The warnings mention California; some sites have even stopped shipping some products there because they don’t want to violate the law.

This is because of a different state law: Proposition 65, a ballot initiative passed by California voters in 1986. Ever since then, California businesses have had to warn people when they may be exposed to any potential cancer-causing chemicals. The warnings have become more common lately on the Internet, as businesses who sell in California have become cautious about accidentally violating the law.

Prop 65 has nothing to do with AB 2762, though:

  • Prop 65 is a law overwhelmingly approved by the voters of California over 30 years ago.
    • It is a general rule, applying to all businesses.
  • AB 2762 started in the California Assembly, was passed there and in the state Senate, was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in late 2020, and goes into effect in 2025.
    • It specifically bans named ingredients from cosmetic products sold in the state.

They do not address the same topic, although both are aimed to safeguard Californians’ health, and both may have consequences for cosmetics businesses doing business in California.

We’ll go over Prop 65 in greater depth in a future article. For now, just know that it is different and separate from AB 2762.

How Can I Make Sure I Follow The Law?

Simple: don’t use any of the ingredients listed above when making your cosmetic products.

If you want to make sure your brand stays up-to-date on the latest regulatory matters, you can hire an independent regulatory consultant. It’s their job to work with you to keep you on the right side of the law.

You’ll be able to find consultants for this and many more important business matters right here on Goldn, the simple, delightful all-in-one cosmetics-creation ecosystem. Sign up to stay informed as our launch date approaches!

Written by

Richard Block

Richard Block is an editorial jack-of-all-trades at Goldn

Connect with Richard Block on LinkedIn.

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