News Room

Personal Care Products Council Update on SB484

May 11, 2010

Contact:  Lisa Powers, 202/466-0489 or Stevan Allen, 916/448-1336

The Personal Care Products Council issued the following statement today (May 11, 2010) to update California consumers on the status of California Safe Cosmetics Act.

Nearly five years have elapsed since Senate Bill 484 (authored by former state senator Carole Migden) established the California Safe Cosmetics Act.  This new program was announced with much initial fanfare and proclamations about how it would protect the health of the millions of Californians who use cosmetics and other already safe personal care products by requiring manufacturers of those products to report to a state agency the ingredients in their products that are already listed on the product label.

Yet, a half-decade and millions of taxpayer dollars later, this California Department of Public Health (CDPH) program remains mired in bureaucracy. It has failed to effectively implement the program or achieve its goals. Consequently, it is little surprise there has been an absence of communication to the public.

Given these and related issues, as well as a concern about the ongoing information vacuum, the Personal Care Products Council has decided to provide an update to its members, the media and California consumers – all of whom deserve to be apprised of the status of this program.

First, we believe that our industry and CDPH have a responsibility to provide important information to consumers.  But the credibility of CDPH or any other government entity depends on its commitment to accuracy, responsibility, unassailable data and accountability to the public it serves. 

It is disconcerting that the State of California – despite repeated warnings and expressed concerns from industry – would nonetheless choose to make information public that it knew to be inaccurate, incomplete and completely devoid of context.

This is precisely what occurred when CDPH released flawed information about ingredients in our products to activist groups with a political and public relations agenda.  

Let’s be clear: Our products are safe and are already regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This industry’s commitment to compliance has been exemplary, as is evident from the following chronology:

  • While we do not believe the California Safe Cosmetics Act offers any significant public health benefit and is a waste of precious taxpayer dollars, our member companies have maintained an earnest respect for the law and worked in good faith to comply with the terms of the Act. 
  • Since the program’s inception several years ago, our diligence has included numerous requests to CDPH to develop legally binding regulations to assist the manufacturers of these products in submitting data required under the law and assure the public that the information is accurate and complete. Specifically, we raised a number of questions about listing ingredients, addressing technological problems with the computer database and establishing a methodology for reviewing and listing new ingredients in the future.
  • When the state failed to respond to our numerous requests to provide necessary legally binding regulations that would provide clear instructions on what information to file with the Department, some companies filed data that was not required by the statute. Many companies were rushing to provide the data in a timely manner – and now belatedly realize that some of the data submitted was irrelevant, unnecessary and misreported.
  • Upon realizing this, we notified CDPH officials only to be told that the department had no mechanism for our companies to correct, clarify or remove the wrong data.  In fact, CDPH officials assured us the issues would be resolved prior to making our industry data public.
  • Yet in February – and again in March – CDPH released the entire flawed database to two environmental activist groups that had filed public records act requests. In April, we learned the information had been made public.
  • As of today, CDPH has spent several million dollars on this program and is still unable to address our concerns, provide customary guidance in the form of regulations or create a way for our companies to ensure their submitted data is correct and in compliance with the law. As a result, the information now in the public domain is inaccurate. As a result, we fear the public will be misled and confused by this information rather than be benefited by it as proposed by the legislation’s sponsors and the Department.

Unfortunately, it is hard to take the California Safe Cosmetics Act seriously when CDPH officials ignore such fundamental lawmaking principles. Our industry stands committed to following the law and ensuring the continued safety of our products. We cannot remain silent while CDPH allows distorted facts and misinformation to circulate in the public domain.

For additional information about cosmetic and personal care products and their ingredients, visit

Based in Washington, D.C., the Personal Care Products Council is the leading national trade association representing the global cosmetic and personal care products industry. Founded in 1894, the Council's more than 600 member companies manufacture, distribute, and supply the vast majority of finished personal care products marketed in the U.S.  As the makers of a diverse range of products millions of consumers rely on everyday, from sunscreens, toothpaste and shampoo to moisturizer, lipstick and fragrance, personal care products companies are global leaders committed to product safety, quality and innovation.