Testimony of Dr. Jay Ansell Before California Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials

Chairman Quirk and Members of the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials:

Good afternoon, I am Dr. Jay Ansell, Vice President for Cosmetic Programs at the Personal Care Products Council.  I am both a Ph.D. chemist and board-certified toxicologist, and I am here to express our strong opposition to Assembly Bill 495.

This bill proposes an outright ban on many ingredients extensively reviewed by independent experts worldwide and found safe for use in cosmetics. The ban would adversely affect tens of thousands of products and potentially compromise the ability to provide consumers with the safe high-quality products they expect.

Simply stated, no other authority in the world agrees that an outright ban for many of these ingredients is needed.

PCPC is the leading national trade association representing more than 600 companies, including 100 that either call California home or have a presence here.  The beauty and personal care industry is an important part of California’s economy, employing approximately 415,000 people throughout the state while contributing $28 billion to the state’s economy.

More specifically, PCPC is opposed to AB 495 for the following reasons:

  • S. federal law governing cosmetics and personal care products absolutely requires that cosmetics products and ingredients must be safe for consumers, AND that companies and individuals who market cosmetics are legally responsible for assuring the safety of their products.
  • Federal law provides enforcement authority and sets severe penalties for product manufacturers that do not meet these strict requirements. The law allows inspections of manufacturing plants; issuing Warning Letters; requesting voluntary recalls with the issuing of press releases; and, working with the Department of Justice, having restraining order issued; products seized; up to and including criminal prosecution.
  • The bill would ban whole classes of preservatives used in tens of thousands of products. These preservatives are widely used and have been reviewed and found safe for use in cosmetics by authoritative bodies both within and outside the United States.  Having a suitable pallet of preservatives is an essential requirement in cosmetic formulation science making sure that products maintain their integrity over time, particularly during storage and use by consumers. Lack of proper preservation can lead to contamination of products with harmful microorganisms – which can result in eye, skin and respiratory infections.
  • The bill places a ban on products containing naturally occurring impurities that are found in everything from the air we breathe to the food and water we consume. Lead, for example, is never an intentionally added ingredient.  It can be found in trace amounts in water and soil and therefore may be found in extremely low levels as a trace contaminant in many raw materials. Manufacturers and Regulatory bodies around the world know this and have already addressed this issue.  As an impurity in cosmetics, limits for lead have been set under the International Cooperation on Cosmetics Regulation program, which includes cosmetic regulators from the U.S., Canada, Japan, Brazil and the European Union. Even California’s own OEHHA has set a No Significant Risk Level for lead in the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.
  • In 2008, the legislature agreed that the best venue for science-based decisions is with DTSC and State Agency scientists. The Safer Consumer Products Law was enacted so that the legislature would not be faced with bills like AB 495, which puts them in the position of making complex scientific decisions on an ingredient-by-ingredient basis. AB 495 contradicts OEHHA by proposing an outright ban on several chemicals already addressed or are currently under review by DTSC. At a minimum, California should let DTSC continue the role it was given by this legislature before stepping in and introducing additional regulation.
  • Last but not least, cosmetics companies work with and employ thousands of chemists, toxicologists, biologists, and environmental scientists and has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in research advancing 21st century safety assessment science – all to ensure we are providing safe, high-quality products to our consumers.

In summary, this bill proposes to ban ingredients that play a critical role in assuring the safety of cosmetics relied on by consumers, addresses other substances that are not and would not be used as ingredients and in many ways’ conflicts with conclusions of California’s own experts.

For all of the above reasons, we oppose AB 495.

Thank you for the opportunity to hear our views and we respectfully ask for your NO vote.