A new California law requires manufacturers of professional cosmetic products to disclose the ingredients on product packaging, as part of a continuing effort to reduce the risk of long-term injury for salon workers.
Governor Jerry Brown signed California Assembly Bill 2775 into state law on September 14, which is being heralded as the first of its kind in the nation.
The measure calls on professional cosmetic labels to add ingredient information, similar to the federal requirement for consumer cosmetics. However, the federal law only requires manufacturers of cosmetics to disclose ingredients on the label for products sold to consumers, not products used at salons and other commercial establishments.
Professional grade products are not subject to this regulation. This is the first law to focus on professional grade cosmetic products, but will apply only to products sold and used in California. The requirement will be enforced for cosmetics sold in California on or after July 1, 2020.
Supporters say the new law will help salon workers and manicurists know and understand what harmful ingredients they work with and apply to customers every day.
Professional grade cosmetic products often contain harsh chemicals that can lead to increased headaches, asthma, liver and kidney damage, nausea, dizziness, skin burns, difficulty concentrating, wheezing, loss of smell, and harm to a fetus during pregnancy.
Workers can breathe in harmful vapors, dusts, or mists. They can get the products on their skin or in their eyes. Some may inadvertently ingest small amounts from their hands.
Some potentially harmful chemicals include acetone, used to remove nail polish; butyl acetate, used in nail polish; methacrylic acid, used as a nail primer; and toluene, used as a fingernail glue.
Studies suggest that salon workers face increased risk of suffering reproductive disorders due to repeated exposure to salon products, such as those used by manicurists and hair dressers. Salon workers use these products for eight to 10 hours every work day.
Supporters also say the bill is a big win for salon workers, as well as Vietnamese and black communities. According to a University of California Los Angeles Labor Center estimate, 67% of California manicurists are of Vietnamese descent. In addition, many black women use professional grade hair products with harsh chemicals.
A report published in 2016 by Black Women for Wellness indicated black women disproportionately suffer health effects from beauty products because of the harsh chemicals in products geared and marketed for the black community, compared to the general population.