Everyone deserves to live in a healthy and safe environment. That environment includes where you live, work, play, and pray. We reject and actively push back against racist rhetoric, actions, policies and institutional oppression that leads to state-sanctioned brutality, gun violence, and harm that again and again assaults communities, particularly communities of color. We are committed to working for justice and equity, and are in solidarity with social, racial, and environmental justice organizations to build community, understanding and honest dialogue to address the root causes of violence, harm and hate.

California Bans Formaldehyde from Cosmetics

California Bans Formaldehyde from Cosmetics + 23 other toxic chemicals!

Director of Programs and Policy, Jamie McConnell
Jamie McConnell
Deputy Director

There is good news coming out of California that will advance salon worker health and safety!

California bill AB 2762 was recently signed into law by Governor Newsom and bans the use of a number of toxic chemicals in cosmetics and professional salon products by 2025, including the carcinogen formaldehyde. This means by 2025 formaldehyde, hair straighteners in California will no longer be allowed to contain formaldehyde. 

This is a huge win for salon workers whose health has suffered as a result of popular hair straightening treatments such as Brazilian Blowout. Salon workers across the country have reported difficulty breathing, bloody noses, headaches, rashes, chronic sinus and lung infections, and more as the result of the use of hair straighteners in their salons. 

The use of formaldehyde in hair straighteners, and the dangers they pose to salon worker health, first came to light as far back as 2010. Since then these products have been subject to everything from class-action lawsuits and OSHA violations, to international recalls. But the FDA has done little to nothing to protect the health of salon workers and their clients from this dangerous chemical, even as countries around the world banned the chemical’s use in hair straightening products. That’s a decade of neglect and failure from the FDA.

This is totally unacceptable. I’ve heard from salon workers who had to make the hard decision to leave their job because of concerns over their health, or who have faced retaliation from salon owners or co-workers. No one should have to choose between their livelihood and their health.

Thankfully, in the face of FDA’s inaction (partly as a result of the US’s incredibly weak regulations around cosmetics and professional salon products), California took action to ban formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals in cosmetics. California has the largest economy in the US, and no doubt this law will impact the sale and safety of hair straightening products nationwide. 

This doesn’t mean FDA is off the hook. We are still calling on the agency to take action on the use of formaldehyde in hair straightening products and are gearing up to submit a citizen’s petition along with EWG and over 60 salon workers. There is no excuse that this product — proven again and again to be toxic — is still on the market and poisoning people.

If your health has been impacted by the use of hair straighteners, please consider signing on to the citizen’s petition. 

To stay updated on the latest news about toxic chemicals in cosmetics and professional salon products, sign up for our action emails!

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