A proposal in Washington state has stalled in the state House, after passing their Senate, that would have banned cosmetics that contain phthalates, formaldehyde, and PFAS. The proposal, Senate Bill 5703, states that legislature finds certain chemicals in cosmetic products to be linked with various negative health effects, such as cancer, birth defects, and damage to the reproductive system. It further states that if enacted, it would have prohibited the sale and distribution of any cosmetics containing these and an additional 31 different substances such as ortho-phthalates, phenolic compounds, parabens, and lead compounds beginning January 1, 2025.
Although Senate Bill 5703 did not progress, the governor did sign into law House Bill 1694, which allows the state department of ecology to recognize and regulate consumer products containing PFAS. The bill gives the ecology depart the authority to restrict PFAS product to any limit. The state’s department of ecology is directed to determine an initial set of regulatory actions regarding PFAS consumer products by June 1, 2024 and must adopt rules to implement the initial set of determinations of regulatory actions by December 1, 2025. Washington has also created a $266,00 fund for identifying and testing cosmetics for the purpose of determining which cosmetics present harmful effects.
Washington is not the first state to ban hazardous substances from cosmetics. In 2020, California passed a ban on cosmetics containing harmful substances, identifying some PFAS chemicals. Maryland took the same course of action in 2021. In addition, several other states, such as New Hampshire, Minnesota, Michigan, and Maine have begun drafting legislature to restrict PFAS in cosmetics.