California enacted legislation, which will take effect on July 1, 2020, requiring manufacturers and importers of cosmetics and disinfectants to post material safety data sheets (MSDSs) to their websites and translate the MSDSs into four or more languages.
Last year saw a flurry of bills that would affect these industries proposed in the California legislature. On September 20, 2019, the Governor signed AB 647 into law, adding Section 6390.2 to the California Labor Code. The new law is part of the Hazardous Substances Information and Training Act. The act requires the Director of Industrial Relations to establish a list of hazardous substances. The Director’s full list of hazardous substances is located here in Section 339 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations.
Current law requires manufacturers that produce or sell a hazardous substance in California to provide purchasers with an MSDS. AB 647 adds new requirements for manufacturers or importers that produce or sell a hazardous substance that constitutes a cosmetic or disinfectant in California.
Under AB 647, manufacturers or importers that produce or sell a hazardous substance in California that takes the form of either a cosmetic (or disinfectant) must:
(1) post MSDSs on the company’s public websites “by its brand name or other commonly known name”
(2) post translations of MSDSs in Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean and any other languages the Director determines are common in the beauty care industry
(3) post separate MSDSs and translations of them for a color or tint if separate MSDSs exist
The new requirements of AB 647 do not apply to cosmetics packaged for distribution to, and use by, the general public, nor do they apply to retail trade establishments. Accordingly, manufacturers or importers of cosmetics whose sole connection to California is the distribution of finished goods or retail sales should not be affected by the new law. In-state manufacturers, however, and other upstream entities should undertake translation services to ensure timely compliance with the new law.
“Disinfectant” is defined broadly under AB 647 to mean a product “registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that has demonstrated bactericidal, fungicidal and virucidal activity.” Manufacturers and sellers of disinfectants already face intensified regulatory scrutiny under other California and federal laws applicable to pesticides. Most recently, government investigators have been conducting “desktop reviews” of company websites for unlawful product claims regarding the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19, bringing follow-up enforcement actions under both civil and criminal authorities.
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