By Myra Irizarry, PBA Director of Government Affairs

ca_reg_imageCalifornia’s Safer Consumer Products (SCP) Regulations took effect in October, 2013, and are set to be phased in over the next several years to coordinate with various requirements. The new regulations, originally signed into law in 2008 as part of what is commonly known as the California Green Chemistry Initiative, will undoubtedly affect not only manufacturers in California, but any beauty professional distributing, selling and importing products into that state.

Crafted by the Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) following extensive public input, the SCP program aims to reduce toxic chemicals in consumer products, create business opportunities in the emerging safer consumer products economy, and reduce the burden on consumers and small businesses concerned about what is being used in the products they buy and sell. To accomplish these goals, the SCP program takes a preventive approach to keeping dangerous chemicals out of everyday products to promote consumer confidence. To be successful, the program relies on reports submitted by responsible entities, such as manufacturers of consumer goods, to inform on and increase the use of safer chemicals in products, homes, schools, and workplaces.

For industry stakeholders, of which the beauty industry has been identified by the DTSC, the regulatory program provides a more predictable process for ensuring product safety, as well as offers a competitive advantage for innovators who see an opportunity in the growing market for toxic-free and toxic-reduced products.

The New Process

Now that the regulations have taken effect, the DTSC is in development of a list of chemicals that are candidates for elimination based on a variety of hazardous traits determined by authoritative scientific organizations and their history of exposure. A group of product types, known as “priority products”, containing at least one of the identified chemicals, is currently in development: Up to five of these priority products will be selected by April 2014. Each priority product must go through a review process, including a public comment period that could take up to a year, giving businesses time to adjust.

Under the regulations, manufacturers of the listed priority products will be required to conduct an “alternative analysis” to determine if a safer, nontoxic ingredient is suitable for substitution. If no other ingredient is feasible, the DTSC has the ability to apply one of several regulatory responses that would reduce the risk or phase out the chemical.

What It Means

Green Chemistry legislation is unique in regards to its potential consequences. Manufacturers, whether doing business within California or from another state, that make products that will be sold in the state of California are responsible for knowing if their product contains a chemical on the priority list of chemicals. If they have a product with a priority chemical it is their responsibility to find a safe alternative to that chemical and reformulate that specific product.
If the manufacturer does not follow the prescribed steps, the consequences not only impact them but can potentially impact the distributor that is providing the product to the retailer. If the retailer or salon has products on the shelves that has not been reformulated with the safer alternative chemical then they cannot sell that product. From manufacturer to retailer, this legislation impacts everyone involved with the product.
As the nation’s leading beauty industry trade organization and a member of the Safe Cosmetics Alliance, the Professional Beauty Association supports legislation and regulations based on sound science and policies that enhance consumer safety and confidence. For more resources and information about California’s Safer Consumer Products Regulations, as well as other legislation with potential to affect the beauty industry, visit

About the Author

Myra Irizarry is the director of government affairs for the Professional Beauty Association (PBA). PBA advocates for the rights of every member and is dedicated to tracking, introducing and responding to legislation at both the State and Federal levels with potential to affect the beauty industry. Visit for more information.