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Migden, Chu Champion Safe Cosmetics

Bills Introduced with Support from Women's, Health, Labor, Business, Religious & Environmental Groups

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 30, 2005
CONTACTS: Eric Potashner, Office of Sen. Migden, 415-557-1300; Rosaline Chan, Office of Asm. Chu, 510-393-3296; Nick Guroff, National Environmental Trust, 415-863-8934 x109; Rebecca Farmer, Breast Cancer Action, 415-243-9301 x16; Kevin Donegan, Breast Cancer Fund, 415-346-8223 x14

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Today Senator Carole Migden (D-San Francisco) and Assemblywoman Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park) announced their plans to champion strong new public health and worker protections from dangerous chemicals in cosmetics. Senate Bill 484, authored by Migden, would require cosmetics manufacturers to report the use of harmful chemicals in their products to the state. Assembly Bill 908, authored by Chu, would prohibit the use of two common ingredients called phthalates which are linked to asthma, birth defects and cancer. 

Recent developments have paved the way for the legislators' get-tough approach on this public health issue.  Cosmetics giants Revlon, Unilever and L'Oreal recently announced plans to remove the phthalates DBP and DEHP from their products worldwide. As of September 2004, the European Union prohibited these and certain other chemicals in cosmetics that are linked to cancer, reproductive harm, and genetic mutations. But other major American manufacturers such as Procter & Gamble have yet to follow suit. SB 484 and AB 908 would place California at the forefront of assuring greater cosmetics safety and occupational health in the beauty care industry.

"It is beyond belief that a consumer is not told whether he or she is putting carcinogens on their skin, in their hair, or on their face," said Migden.  "My district has the highest breast cancer rates in the state, and certain ingredients in products such as shampoos, body lotions, and nail polishes may be linked to the disease. Moreover, the health of beauty care workers could be at tremendous risk due to their increased exposure. The make-up woman at Nordstrom's probably doesn't know that she is working with carcinogens every day. This legislation simply aims to inform the public to a potential health hazard." 

Last year, proposed California legislation to improve cosmetics safety brought national attention to the problem facing consumers. A growing coalition of organizations, including Asian Health Services, Breast Cancer Action, Breast Cancer Fund, California Council of Churches, National Environmental Trust, United Food and Commercial Workers Union, and the Women's Foundation of California are uniting this year in support of SB 484.

"Common sense tells us that chemicals that cause cancer and birth defects should not be in products used everyday by women of child bearing age.  Preventing birth defects is far more important than producing nail polish that doesn't chip," commented Assemblymember Judy Chu. "My bill will ban the manufacturing and sale of two dangerous chemicals currently found in cosmetics and personal care products.  There is no reason for these products when viable alternatives exist.  If women in Europe are protected, why shouldn't American women be too?" 

The bills will address current failings in federal oversight of cosmetic safety and occupational health in beauty care.

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