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California Cosmetics PFAS Law Goes To The Governor

On August 23, 2022, a significant California cosmetics PFAS law passed the California Assembly and was sent to Governor Newsom’s desk for signature this week. The bill would ban the use of any type of PFAS in cosmetic products in the state by 2025. With increasing attention being given to PFAS in consumer goods in the media, scientific community, and in state legislatures, the California PFAS law underscore the importance of companies anywhere in the manufacturing or supply chain for consumer goods to immediately assess the impact of the proposed PFAS legislation on corporate practices, and make decisions regarding continued use of PFAS in products, as opposed to substituting for other substances.  At the same time, companies impacted by the PFAS legislation must be aware that the new laws pose risks to the companies involvement in PFAS litigation in both the short and long term.

California Cosmetics PFAS Law

On August 23, 2022, AB 2771 passed the California Assembly by a vote of 60-7 vote. The bill would prohibit the manufacture, sale, delivery, hold, or offer for sale any cosmetics product that contains any intentionally added PFAS. The law would go into effect on January 1, 2025. The bill defines a cosmetics products as “an article for retail sale or professional use intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance.”

Impact of California Cosmetics PFAS Law On Businesses

California’s legislation places one of the most significant and widely used consumer products in the crosshairs with respect to PFAS, and add reporting requirements to manufacturers with respect to PFAS whether intentionally added or not. While other states have banned or otherwise regulated PFAS in certain specific consumer goods, California’s bill is noteworthy given the economic impact that it will have, considering that California is the fifth largest economy in the world.

It is of the utmost importance for businesses along the whole cosmetics supply chain to evaluate their PFAS risk. Public health and environmental groups urge legislators to regulate these compounds. One major point of contention among members of various industries is whether to regulate PFAS as a class or as individual compounds.  While each PFAS compound has a unique chemical makeup and impacts the environment and the human body in different ways, some groups argue PFAS should be regulated together as a class because they interact with each other in the body, thereby resulting in a collective impact. Other groups argue that the individual compounds are too diverse and that regulating them as a class would be over restrictive for some chemicals and not restrictive enough for others.

Companies should remain informed so they do not get caught off guard. States are increasingly passing PFAS product bills that differ in scope. For any manufacturers, especially those who sell goods interstate, it is important to understand how those various standards will impact them, whether PFAS is regulated as individual compounds or as a class. Conducting regular self-audits for possible exposure to PFAS risk and potential regulatory violations can result in long term savings for companies and should be commonplace in their own risk assessment.

©2022 CMBG3 Law, LLC. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 241
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About this Author

John Gardella Environmental Law Attorney CMBG3 Law Firm
Shareholder

John Gardella is a Shareholder at CMBG3 Law in Boston, a law firm specializing in the regulatory, litigation, and compliance aspects of numerous environmental and toxic torts issues. He is a member of the firm’s PFAS Team, which counsels clients on PFAS related issues ranging from state violations to remediation litigation. Mr. Gardella has over 15 years of experience litigating environmental and toxic torts matters, including asbestos, PFAS, benzene, lead paint, mold, talc, hazardous waste and pollution matters. He is a successful trial attorney with over 75 verdicts to...

617-279-8225
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