Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

As part of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the Santa Ana Public Library will feature Asian American and Pacific Islander authors and titles as a contribution to the national movement, #StopAsianHate. SAPL and the City of Santa Ana condemn racism, xenophobia, and hate against Asian Americans and all peoples of every nation and background. Check out some of our featured book titles by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, showcasing the experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in this country through personal accounts, tales, and stories.

Books for Adults
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Days of Distraction: A Novel

by Chang, Alexandra

The plan is to leave. As for how, when, to where, and even why--she doesn't know yet. So begins a journey for the twenty-four-year-old narrator of Days of Distraction. As a staff writer at a prestigious tech publication, she reports on the achievements of smug Silicon Valley billionaires and start-up bros while her own request for a raise gets bumped from manager to manager. And when her longtime boyfriend, J, decides to move to a quiet upstate New York town for grad school, she sees an excuse to cut and run.

Moving is supposed to be a grand gesture of her commitment to J and a way to reshape her sense of self. But in the process, she finds herself facing misgivings about her role in an interracial relationship. Captivated by the stories of her ancestors and other Asian Americans in history, she must confront a question at the core of her identity: What does it mean to exist in a society that does not notice or understand you?

Equal parts tender and humorous, and told in spare but powerful prose, Days of Distraction is an offbeat coming-of-adulthood tale, a touching family story, and a razor-sharp appraisal of our times.

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Yellow: Stories

by Lee, Don

Yellow is a collection of short stories written by Korean-American novelist Don Lee. It features eight stories set in the fictional California town of Rosarita Bay in which a variety of characters examine issues of what it means to be Asian in America.

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The Making of Asian America: A History

by Lee, Erika

n the past fifty years, Asian Americans have helped change the face of America and are now the fastest growing group in the United States. The Making of Asian America tells the little-known history of Asian Americans and their role in American life, from the arrival of the first Asians in the Americas to the present-day. An epic history of global journeys and new beginnings, this book shows how generations of Asian immigrants and their American-born descendants have made and remade Asian American life in the United States.

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Chinese San Francisco, 1850-1943 : A Trans-Pacific Community

by Chen, Yong

Founded during the Gold Rush years, the Chinese community of San Francisco became the largest and most vibrant Chinatown in America. This is a detailed social and cultural history of the Chinese in San Francisco.

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Typical American

by Jen, Gish

“Gish Jen reinvents the American immigrant story through the Chang family, who first come to the United States with no intention of staying. When the Communists assume control of China in 1949, though, Ralph Chang, his sister Theresa, and his wife Helen, find themselves in a crisis. At first, they cling to their old-world ideas of themselves.  But as they begin to dream the American dream of self-invention, they move poignantly and ironically from people who disparage all that is ‘typical American’ to people who might be seen as typically American themselves. With droll humor and a deep empathy for her characters, Gish Jen creates here a superbly engrossing story that resonates with wit and wisdom even as it challenges the reader to reconsider what a typical American might be today.” –Penguin Random House

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A Thousand Years of Good Prayers: Stories

by Li, Yiyun

In this collection of stories, the author illuminates how mythology, politics, history, and culture intersect with personality to create fate.

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Picture Bride: A Novel

by Uchida, Yoshiko

Carrying a photograph of the man she is to marry but has yet to meet, young Hana Omiya arrives in San Francisco, California, in 1917, one of several hundred Japanese "picture brides" whose arranged marriages brought them to America in the early 1900s.

Her story is intertwined with others: her husband, Taro Takeda, an Oakland shopkeeper; Kiku and her husband Henry, who reject demeaning city work to become farmers; Dr. Kaneda, a respected community leader who is destroyed by the adopted land he loves. All are caught up in the cruel turmoil of World War II, when West Coast Japanese Americans are uprooted from their homes and imprisoned in desert detention camps. Although tragedy strikes each of them, the same strength that brought her to America enable Hana to survive.

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Minor Feelings : An Asian American Reckoning

by Hong, Cathy Park

Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively blends memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose fresh truths about racialized consciousness in America. Part memoir and part cultural criticism, this collection is vulnerable, humorous, and provocative--and its relentless and riveting pursuit of vital questions around family and friendship, art and politics, identity and individuality, will change the way you think about our world. 

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Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets and Advice for Living Your Best :Life

by Wong, Ali

Wong's heartfelt and hilarious letters to her daughters cover everything they need to know in life, like the unpleasant details of dating, how to be a working mom in a male-dominated profession, and how she trapped their dad. Though addressed to her daughters, the letters are absurdly funny, surprisingly moving, and enlightening (and gross) for all.

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Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self

by Tizon, Alex

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist's memoir, in the spirit of Richard Rodriquez's Hunger for Memory and Nathan McCall's Makes Me Wanna Holler--an intimate look at the mythology, experience, and psyche of the Asian American male

Books for Teens
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Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir

by Ha, Robin

For as long as she can remember, it's been Robin and her mom against the world. Growing up as the only child of a single mother in Seoul, Korea, wasn't always easy, but it has bonded them fiercely together.

So when a vacation to visit friends in Huntsville, Alabama, unexpectedly becomes a permanent relocation--following her mother's announcement that she's getting married--Robin is devastated.

Overnight, her life changes. She is dropped into a new school where she doesn't understand the language and struggles to keep up. She is completely cut off from her friends in Seoul and has no access to her beloved comics. At home, she doesn't fit in with her new stepfamily, and worst of all, she is furious with the one person she is closest to--her mother.

Then one day Robin's mother enrolls her in a local comic drawing class, which opens the window to a future Robin could never have imagined.

This nonfiction graphic novel with four starred reviews is an excellent choice for teens and also accelerated tween readers, both for independent reading and units on immigration, memoirs, and the search for identity.

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Kiyo Sato: From a WWII Japanese Internment Camp to a Life of Service

by Goldsmith, Connie

In this moving account, Sato and Goldsmith tell the story of the internment years, describing why the internment happened and how it impacted Kiyo and her family. They also discuss the ways in which Kiyo has used her experience to educate other Americans about their history, to promote inclusion, and to fight against similar injustices. Hers is a powerful, relevant, and inspiring story to tell on the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.

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Patron Saints of Nothing

by Ribay, Randy

When Jay Reguero hears of his cousin Jun's death, everything changes. Although years have passed since they were last in contact, the stories about Jun just don't fit with the boy Jay knew. Hoping to uncover the truth, Jay travels to Jun's home in the Philippines - but the shocking realities of life there lead to even more questions. Can Jay find the answers he seeks?

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They Called Us Enemy

by Takei, George

A stunning graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei's childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon -- and America itself -- in this gripping tale of courage, country, loyalty, and love.

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The Shadow Hero

by Yang, Gene Luen, Liew, Sonny

In the comics boom of the 1940s, a legend was born: the Green Turtle. He solved crimes and fought injustice just like the other comics characters. But this mysterious masked crusader was hiding something more than your run-of-the-mill secret identity. The Green Turtle was the first Asian American super hero. 

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by Pon, Cindy

Set in a near-future Taipei plagued by pollution, a group of teens risk everything to save their city in this thrilling novel from critically acclaimed author Cindy Pon.

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The Astonishing Color of After

by Pan, Emily

A stunning, heartbreaking debut novel about grief, love, and family, perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson and Celeste Ng.

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Butterfly Yellow

by Lai, Thanhha

In the final days of the Việt Nam War, Hằng takes her little brother, Linh, to the airport, determined to find a way to safety in America. In a split second, Linh is ripped from her arms--and Hằng is left behind in the war-torn country.

Six years later, Hằng has made the brutal journey from Việt Nam and is now in Texas as a refugee. She doesn't know how she will find the little brother who was taken from her until she meets LeeRoy, a city boy with big rodeo dreams, who decides to help her.

Hằng is overjoyed when she reunites with Linh. But when she realizes he doesn't remember her, their family, or Việt Nam, her heart is crushed. Though the distance between them feels greater than ever, Hằng has come so far that she will do anything to bridge the gap.

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Loveboat, Taipei

by Wen, Abigail Hing

"Our cousins have done this program," Sophie whispers. "Best kept secret. Zero supervision."

And just like that, Ever Wong's summer takes an unexpected turn. Gone is Chien Tan, the strict educational program in Taiwan that Ever was expecting. In its place, she finds Loveboat: a summer-long free-for-all where hookups abound, adults turn a blind eye, snake-blood sake flows abundantly, and the nightlife runs nonstop.

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We Are Not Free

by Chee,Traci

From New York Times best-selling and acclaimed author Traci Chee comes We Are Not Free, the collective account of a tight-knit group of young Nisei, second-generation Japanese American citizens, whose lives are irrevocably changed by the mass U.S. incarcerations of World War II.

Books for Kids
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The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story

by Cho, Tina M.

Dayeon wants to be a haenyeo just like Grandma. The haenyeo dive off the coast of Jeju Island to pluck treasures from the sea--generations of Korean women have done so for centuries. To Dayeon, the haenyeo are as strong and graceful as mermaids. To give her strength, Dayeon eats Grandma's abalone porridge. She practices holding her breath while they do the dishes. And when Grandma suits up for her next dive, Dayeon grabs her suit, flippers, and goggles. A scary memory of the sea keeps Dayeon clinging to the shore, but with Grandma's guidance, Dayeon comes to appreciate the ocean's many gifts.

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Saffron Ice Cream

by Kheiriyeh, Rashin

A joyous celebration of a girl's first family outing in a new country

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Tiny Feet Between the Mountains

by Cha, Hanna

A young Korean girl must come up with a clever idea to help a spirit tiger who has swallowed the sun by mistake in this fun, charming debut picture book from author-illustrator Hanna Cha.

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A Different Pond

by Phi, Bao

A powerful, honest glimpse into a relationship between father and son and between cultures, old and new, about a long-ago fishing trip.

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Moana's New Friend

by Weinberg, Jennifer

When Moana and Pua make friends with a sea turtle, they soon realize that she is about to have baby turtles--and they need help Join Moana and her friends in this Step 2 Step into Reading leveled reader perfect for children ages 4 to 6 who are just learning to read on their own. Step 2 Readers use basic vocabulary and short sentences to tell simple stories. For children who recognize familiar words and can sound out new words with help.

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by Tillworth, Mary

Join Mulan and her friends Mushu, Cri-Kee, and more as they set out to save Mulan's father and the Chinese empire from an enemy invasion. This Step 2 deluxe Step into Reading leveled reader is based on the classic Disney Princess film Mulan. This book is perfect for girls and boys ages 4 to 6. Step 2 readers use basic vocabulary and short sentences to tell simple stories. For children who recognize familiar words and can sound out new words with help.

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When You Trap a Tiger

by Keller, Tae

Would you make a deal with a magical tiger? This uplifting story brings Korean folklore to life as a girl goes on a quest to unlock the power of stories and save her grandmother.

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Prairie Lotus

by Park, Linda Sue

In this compelling, emotionally engaging novel set in 1880, a half-Chinese girl and her white father try to make a home in Dakota Territory, in the face of racism and resistance.

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Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

by Lin, Grace

In the valley of Fruitless mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. In the evenings, her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man on the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life's questions. Inspired by these stories, Minli sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man on the Moon to ask him how she can change her family's fortune.

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Mountain Chef: How One Man Lost His Groceries, Changed His Plans, and Helped Cook Up the National Park Service

by Pimentel, Annette Bay

The true story of a Chinese American mountain man who fed thirty people for ten days in the wilderness and helped inspire the creation of the National Park Service.

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Las Aventuras de Kubi

by Speyer, Erik

Kubi es un perrito blanco, curioso y ágil, que vive rodeado de amigos en una granja en Vietnam.

Kubi is a smart, inquisitive white puppy who lives with all his friends on a farm in Vietnam.

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Yasmin la Amiga

by Faruqi, Saadia

Yasmin sabe exactamente a que quiere jugar cuando sus amigos vengan a su casa, pero ellos tienen otras ideas. Podra n llegar a un acuerdo creativo que deje a todos contentos?

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¿Quién es Malala Yousafzai?

by Brown, Dinah

Presenta a Malala Yousafzai, una niña a la que le encantaba aprender, pero le dijeron que las niñas ya no podrían ir a la escuela. Escribió un blog que llamó la atención sobre lo que estaba sucediendo en su hermoso rincón de Pakistán y se dio cuenta de que las palabras pueden generar cambios. Ella ha seguido defendiendo el derecho de todos los niños a tener una educación y en 2014 ganó el Premio Nobel de la Paz.

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Exploremos Japón

by Moon, Walt K.

Describe la geografía, los animales, las plantas, las ciudades, los alimentos y los deportes de Japón.

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by Sato, Shozo

Create beautiful flower arrangements with this traditional Japanese art

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Asian Children's Favorite Stories: Folktales from China, Japan, Korea, India, the Philippines and Other Asian Lands

by Conger, David

For thousands of years, children all over the world have listened to popular folktales. Each country has its own set of fascinating stories, and learning those from another part of the world is both entertaining and educational.

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Tools and Treasures of Ancient China

by Ransom, Candice F.

Have you ever worn silk? Eaten Rice? Used a calendar? All these things came from ancient China. More than two thousand years ago, the ancient Chinese invented tools and treasures that still shape our lives. Find out where the ancient Chinese lived, what their lives were like, and what happened to them. Discover how they changed the world

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All About the Philippines: Stories, Songs, Crafts and Games for Kids

by Jimenez, Gidget

Imagine living in a country of islands, sprinkled across the ocean like stars in thesky, each with its own unique geography and people. Mary, Jaime, and Ari don'thave to imagine it-- they live it! Join these three Filipino cousins, who live verydifferent lives but are the best of friends, on an incredible journey across theirhome--the colorful island nation of the Philippines.From visiting each of their houses and schools to getting to know their families andfavorite places, Mary, Jaime, and Ari share a glimpse of their lives to help otherkids understand what makes the Philippines such a special place. Full of fun facts and perfect for a family to enjoy together, All About the Philippinescovers the conquistadors and traders who came to the islands centuries ago,natural disasters such as earthquakes or typhoons, and so much more.

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Kubo and the Two Strings

The animated fantasy adventure film Kubo and the Two Strings, directed by Travis Knight, tells the tale of Kubo, a Japanese boy who is responsible for his mother. They scrape by until one day the child is visited by an ancient spirit who takes Kubo on a magical adventure involving a struggle for Earth's survival. Among the stars who lend their vocal talents to the film are Matthew McConaughey, Charlize Theron, Rooney Mara, and Ralph Fiennes. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

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Young navigator Moana (voice of Auli'i Cravalho), the daughter of a Polynesian tribal chief, is chosen to find a precious artifact that could save her people. She teams with demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson) to locate a legendary island, and together the pair explore fantastical lands and encounter incredible sea creatures in this animated adventure from Disney. The film's soundtrack includes contributions from Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Tony and Grammy-winning creator of the popular stage musical Hamilton. Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. ~ Daniel Gelb, Rovi

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Ancient China A Journey Back in Time

This video is part of the Lost Treasures of the Ancient World series that looks at some of the ancient civilizations of the world. China is country with a history that spans thousands of years. The Chinese Book of Changes, the I Ching dates back 3,000 years. Lost Treasures of the Ancient World: China -- A Journey Back in Time examines the legacy of that ancient world, in the arts and sciences, from the wisdom of Confucius to painting to fireworks. The viewer travels to China to see some of the monuments of that culture, including the Great Wall of China, and the Forbidden City. ~ Rose of Sharon Winter, Rovi

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Ash is Purest White

Set across the first eighteen-years of the 21st century, Qiao (Zhao), the girlfriend of local nightclub owner Bin (Liao Fan), a mobster in Datong learns the ways of the gun after a vicious attack on Bin sees him left for dead by rivals. Qiao shoots the punks and is arrested, charged, and released for all within the films duration. Once free she seeks to find Bin, but stumbles upon truths she does not wish to know. Written and directed by Jia Zang-ke. ~ Kyle Lavigne, Rovi

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Asian Americans

Asian Americans / a production of WETA Washington, D.C. and the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) for PBS ; in association with the Independent Television Service (ITVS), Flash Cuts, and Tajima-Peña Productions ; series producer, Renee Tajima-Peña ; episode producers, S. Leo Chiang, Geeta Gandbhir, and Grace Lee ; writers, S. Leo Chiang, Victoria Chalk, Aldo Velasco, Grace Lee, Alex Keipper.

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Crazy Rich Asians

Rachel Chu is happy to accompany her longtime boyfriend, Nick, to his best friend's wedding in Singapore. She's also surprised to learn that Nick's family is extremely wealthy and he's considered one of the country's most eligible bachelors. Thrust into the spotlight, Rachel must now contend with jealous socialites, quirky relatives and something far, far worse - Nick's disapproving mother.

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The Joy Luck Club

In San Francisco, a group of aging Chinese women (Kieu Chinh, Tsai Chin, France Nuyen, Lisa Lu) meet regularly to trade familial stories while playing Mahjong. In a series of sixteen vignettes that spans generations and continents, this adaptation of Amy Tan's bestselling novel explores cultural conflict and the often-turbulent relationships between four first-generation Chinese-American women (Ming-Na Wen, Tamlyn Tomita, Lauren Tom, Rosalind Chao) and their mothers.

Kanopy Videos
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AOKI chronicles the life of Richard Aoki (1938-2009), a third-generation Japanese American who became one of the founding members of the Black Panther Party. Filmed over the last five years of Richard's life, this documentary features extensive footage with Richard and exclusive interviews with his comrades, friends, and former students.

Viewers will learn about Richard's childhood in a WWII Japanese American concentration camp, growing up in West Oakland, and serving eight years in the U.S. military. The film explores previously unknown facts about the formation of the Black Panther Party such as how Richard became intimately involved in its founding and contributed the first two firearms to the Party.

AOKI highlights how Richard's leadership also made a significant impact on individuals and groups in the contemporary Asian American Movement. Richard's contributions to the groundbreaking organization Asian American Political Alliance (AAPA) and its involvement in the Third World Liberation Front (TWLF) student strike led to the formation of ethnic studies at U.C. Berkeley.

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Bad Rap

This award-winning documentary follows the lives and careers of four Asian-American rappers trying to break into hip-hop culture, which often treats them as outsiders. Sharing dynamic live performance footage and revealing interviews, these artists are driven to make the most skeptical critics into believers.

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Kumu Hina

Imagine a world where a little boy can grow up to be the woman of his dreams, and a young girl can rise to become a leader among men. Welcome to Kumu Hina's Hawai'i.

During a momentous year in her life in modern Honolulu, Hina Wong-Kalu, a native Hawaiian mahu, or transgender, teacher uses traditional culture to inspire a student to claim her place as leader of the school's all-male hula troupe. But despite her success as a teacher, Hina longs for love and a committed relationship. Will her marriage to a headstrong Tongan man fulfill her dreams? An incredible docu-drama that unfolds like a narrative film, KUMU HINA reveals a side of Hawai'i rarely seen on screen.

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Painted Nails

It won't take long to fall in love with the subject of Painted Nails, Van Hoang, a Vietnamese nail salon owner who serves an ethnically diverse group of working class women with acrylic nails and intricate airbrush designs. Through the course of the film, Van unintentionally becomes a contemporary Norma Rae or Erin Brockovich. Painted Nails brings us unprecedented insight into the personal nature of the political movement to regulate one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S. Major loopholes in the federal law dating back to 1938 allow the 50-billion-dollar cosmetics industry to put unlimited amounts of chemicals into personal care products with no required testing, monitoring of health effects, or labeling requirements.