Widespread Use of PFAS In Cosmetics

Mar, 2022 - By WMR

Widespread Use of PFAS In Cosmetics

In a study conducted at the University of Notre Dame, researchers found that half of the cosmetics include PFAS a toxic chemical.

Scientists at the University of Notre Dame found in a study that almost half of the cosmetic products contain a potentially harmful and toxic chemical that is poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These chemicals have been found as a reason for reproductive damage, cancer, and immune system damage in early research. To increase the spreadability, wear, reliability, and longevity of the products, PFAS's are usually used in the products. Various lipsticks, eye as well as eyebrow products, concealers, and foundations; the scientists have tested about 200 such products. 48% of lip products, 47% of mascaras, 56% of foundations as well as eye products that have been tested were found to contain a high amount of fluorine chemical, which is nothing but PFAS is used in those products.

The journal called Environmental Science and Technology Letters has recently published this study. Previously PFAS found in fast-food wrappers, treated fabrics, non-stick cookware, and more recently in PPE kits used by firefighters across the country. PFAS is known as a “Forever chemical” because it contaminates groundwater for decades after being released into the atmosphere without deteriorating naturally. PFAS is used in foam fire suppressants as a component to clean contaminated drinking water, for example, it motivates the Department of Defence to move to environment-friendly alternatives. Studies have linked some PFAS to hypertension, testicular cancer, kidney cancer, thyroid disease, immunotoxicity in children, and low birth weight.

Prof. Graham Peaslee (Professor of Physics at the University of Notre Dame and principal investigator of the study) and the research team purchased some products at departmental stores in the United States and some purchased online in Canada. They found a high amount of fluorine used in waterproof mascara, liquid lipstick, and foundations that are advertised as "wear-resistant" and "long-lasting". Prof. Peaslee said it's no surprise that PFAS is used for the Film-forming and water resistance properties of cosmetics.

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