Insights on Environmental Health & Safety (EHS), Operational Risk and Product Stewardship

Compliance Alert: California Requires Cosmetic, Disinfectant Safety Data Sheets to Be Multilingual

October 1st, 2019
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Alert: There has been a flurry of regulatory activity coming out of California in the past few weeks. Assembly Bill No. 647 (AB-647) is one interesting bill approved by the governor on Sept. 20, 2019, that caught our attention. This change adds Section 6390.2 to the Labor Code. This amendment requires manufacturers to produce Safety Data Sheets in multiple languages for products that are considered cosmetics and disinfectants as defined in the regulatory text. It also mandates that the SDSs for these categories of substances or mixtures be posted and maintained online on the entity’s public website and that the SDS be translated into at least Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean as well as other languages that the director of industrial relations “may determine are common to the beauty care industry.” The translations must also be publicly available on the website. This change is set to take effect on July 1, 2020.

Implication: To help you determine if you might be impacted the definitions of disinfectant and cosmetic that are referenced in the amendment are as follows:

Cosmetic (defined in Section 109900 of the Health and Safety Code, not excluded by Section 6385): “Cosmetic” means any article, or its components, intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to, the human body or any part of the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness or altering the appearance. The term “cosmetic” does not include soap.

Labor Code 6385. The provisions of this chapter do not apply to hazardous substances contained in either of the following: (a) Products intended for personal consumption by employees in the workplace, or consumer products packaged for distribution to, and use by, the general public. (b) Retail food sale establishments and all other retail trade establishments, exclusive of processing and repair work areas.

Disinfectant (defined in Section 977 of Article 12 of Division 9 of Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations): “A product registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that has demonstrated bactericidal, fungicidal and virucidal activity. The products used must include a label from the manufacturer that indicates the EPA registration and must be in liquid form to disinfect non-electrical tools and spray or wipe form to disinfect electrical tools and shears.”

Basically, with this amendment, under Section 6390 of the Labor Code, if your company sells substances or mixtures in California that meet the definitions of cosmetic or disinfectant and contain listed “hazardous substances” (found here), then you likely may need to create additional translated SDSs. That’s because many manufacturers might not have SDSs in the languages specified since English is what is required for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and U.S. compliance. If your products are subject to these new requirements, now is the time to check to see if both your SDSs and public website will meet these new requirements. 

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