Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act (TFCA)

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TFCA rulemaking and comment period open until Aug. 13

We’ve started rulemaking for TFCA (Chapter 173-339). We invite you to submit comments during an informal public comment period now through Aug. 13, 2024.

In 2023, Washington Legislature passed the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act (TFCA) (Chapter 70A.560 RCW) to improve cosmetic and personal care product safety and protect Washington’s residents and environment from toxic chemicals.

TFCA restricts the manufacture, distribution, and sale of cosmetic products that contain certain toxic chemicals within Washington. It also directs us to:

Two illustrated scenes of brown-skinned women using cosmetics products.

What is the purpose of TFCA?

Many chemicals used in cosmetic products are linked to harmful impacts on health, such as cancer, hormone disruption, and reproductive and developmental toxicity. The highest exposure occurs when an individual uses a product that contains toxic chemicals.

These chemicals also cause widespread impacts to the environment and public health throughout the product life cycle, such as when they are washed down the drain or thrown in the trash and enter the environment, causing further impacts to human health and wildlife.

In accordance with the HEAL Act, we will prioritize technical and financial assistance to communities facing disproportionate impacts from environmental harms or where there is the potential to reduce exposure inequity.

Black women and professional salon workers, who are predominantly immigrants and women of color experience some of the highest rates of exposure.

What chemicals are restricted under TFCA?

As of Jan. 1, 2025, TFCA restricts nine toxic chemicals and chemical classes from cosmetic products made, distributed, or sold in Washington. For in-state retailers, restrictions on existing stock take effect Jan. 1, 2026.

Chemical or chemical class

Restriction level

Formaldehyde*

Intentionally added

Lead and lead compounds

Intentionally added or at one part per million (ppm) or above

Mercury and mercury compounds

Intentionally added

Methylene glycol Intentionally added

Ortho-phthalates

Intentionally added

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

Intentionally added

m-Phenylenediamine and its salts

Intentionally added

o-Phenylenediamine and its salts

Intentionally added

Triclosan

Intentionally added

* Chemicals that we determine release formaldehyde will be decided through rulemaking.

What businesses must comply with TFCA?

All businesses that manufacture, distribute, sell, or use for services cosmetic products in Washington must comply with TFCA. This includes:

  • Cosmetic manufacturers.
  • Brands.
  • Distributors.
  • Retailers.
  • Cosmetologists.
  • Cosmetology businesses, such as hair and nail salons.

How can manufacturers comply with TFCA?

Cosmetics manufacturers will need to evaluate their products to determine if they meet TFCA restrictions and possibly reformulate. We recommend that manufacturing companies take the opportunity to reformulate products with safer alternatives in order to:

  • Future-proof products by reducing the likelihood of further reformulation in the event future regulations pass that restrict other chemicals.
  • Build brand recognition as a company invested in human health and the environment.

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Support for small cosmetics manufacturers

Small cosmetics manufacturers (employing 50 people or less) may:

Read the TFCA Guide: Restrictions for Cosmetic Industry & Sellers.

How does TFCA impact cosmetology businesses?

Businesses that sell or use cosmetic products in Washington must ensure that the products they sell or use as part of a service meet TFCA restrictions. To ensure compliance, cosmetology businesses will need to contact their distributor before purchase to confirm the products they are buying do not contain any chemicals restricted by TFCA.

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Support for small cosmetology businesses

Small cosmetology businesses (such as beauty salons, independent cosmetologists, and those that provide cosmetology services) may:

Formaldehyde restrictions

We may conduct a rulemaking to establish restrictions on chemicals that release formaldehyde. According to the law, the earliest these restrictions can take effect is:

  • Jan. 1, 2026, for up to 10 chemicals used in cosmetics that release formaldehyde. 
  • Jan. 1, 2027, for additional chemicals used in cosmetics that release formaldehyde.

Frequently asked questions