Letter of Support: HB643 Restricting Toxic Chemicals in Personal Care Products, Cosmetics

State and National Groups Back Reform
Last updated: 2/19/2021

Dear Chair Pendergrass, Vice Chair Peña-Melnyk, and members of the committee:

We, the undersigned organizations, are writing in support of HB 643, sponsored by Delegate Julie Palakovich Carr. HB 643 is modeled after legislation that passed unanimously in California with the support of the cosmetics and personal care industry.

This important bill will prohibit the manufacture and sale of cosmetics products in Maryland containing 12 highly toxic chemicals including mercury, formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates and per- or polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFAS).

Today, personal care and beauty products (generally termed cosmetics) that are sold in Maryland and the United States are largely unregulated. Manufacturers can use practically any chemical to formulate a cosmetic product, including chemicals with well-established links to cancer, reproductive harm or birth defects. Equally troubling is that neither federal nor state laws require premarket testing by cosmetic manufacturers or their regulatory agencies to ensure that these products are safe before they hit store shelves.

Out of the more than 10,000 chemicals used to formulate beauty and personal care products, the United States Food and Drug Administration has only ever banned or restricted 11. In contrast, the European Union prohibits or restricts the use of nearly 1,400 chemicals in cosmetics, and many other countries tightly regulate cosmetics sold to their citizens. Marylanders, unfortunately, remain unprotected.

Men, women, and children of all ages regularly use personal care products and beauty products. Marylanders need and deserve the same protections from harmful cosmetics provided to people that shop for the exact same products in California, Canada, Europe, and numerous other jurisdictions.

For the aforementioned reasons, we respectfully urge a favorable report on HB 643.


Lindsay Dahl
SVP of Social Mission
Beauty Counter

Emily Ranson
Maryland Director
Clean Water Action

Olivia Bartlett
Maryland Team Co-Lead

Lily Hawkins
Maryland Organizer
Food & Water Watch

Nina Beth Cardin
Maryland Campaign For Environmental Human Rights

Kate Breimann
Environment Maryland

Cecilia Plante
Maryland Legislative Coalition

Ruth Berlin
Executive Director
Maryland Pesticide Education Network

Emily Scarr
Maryland PIRG

Mark Posner
Legislative Chair
Maryland Sierra Club

Alexandra DySard
Environmental Manager
MOM’s Organic Market

Diana Philip
Executive Director
NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland

M. Isabelle Chaudry, Esq.
Senior Policy Manager
National Women's Health Network

Tom Hucker
Senior Advocate
Natural Resources Defense Council

Tim Whitehouse
Executive Director
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility

Monica O'Connor
Legislative Liaison
W.I.S.E. (Women Indivisible Strong Effective)

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