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Toxic Forever Chemicals Found in Numerous Cosmetics

If you wear makeup on a regular basis, you could be absorbing toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFAS) through your skin, tear ducts, and mouth. This discovery is revealed in a new study published this week in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters.

After testing 231 products across eight categories that were purchased in both Canada and the United States, researchers found that most waterproof or “long-lasting” mascaras, foundations, and lipsticks have high fluorine levels, which indicate the presence of PFAS.1 When they took a smaller subset of these products (23 items) and tested them further, they confirmed that all had detectable levels of at least four PFAS.

Why is the finding of the study worrisome?

The abbreviation PFAS stands for perfluoroalkyl substances, which includes almost 5,000 types of chemicals. Perfluoroalkyl chemicals are artificially produced chemicals that include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluoronanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS), and the like. Certain PFAs, such as PFOA and PFOS, as well as PFNA and PFHxS, do not degrade in the environment or in the human body, so they accumulate over time. Some of these, e.g. the use of PFOA have been banned in the EU from 2020. Preparations for the withdrawal of PFAS are under way in the EU. The range of products containing PFASs vary from fire-fighting foam to everyday items such as non-stick cookware or rainproof clothing. As we had published a detailed report on the matter, the best known PFC / PFAS compound is Teflon, also, in many clothing products, it is used to ensure the waterproofness and resistance of clothing to dirt. https://tudatosvasarlo.hu/kimutattak-gyermekeink-belfloraja-az-otthoni-vegyszerek-szerint-alakul/

Earlier it was used in shampoos, but they are also added to furniture and carpets. They are also used in food packaging because of their non-stick properties, such as in popcorn bags (that you put in the microwave oven), fast food packaging, or pizza boxes. They are often referred to as forever chemicals because they do not degrade over a long period of time, and

can be found in the bloodstream of almost every human being on the planet.

This is worrisome because PFAS belong to a large family of notorious chemicals that are linked to compromised immune systems, developmental and reproductive damage, increased risk of cancer, and changes in cholesterol and weight gain. They might contribute to COVID-19 vaccine resistance. Some can be highly toxic at low doses.

Factories and airports breathe forever chemicals

PFASs are present not only in products but in our waters, soil, air, plants and everywhere, including the human body. In industrial areas, particularly high levels of PFAS have been measured in the vicinity of factories. In Belgium and Italy, for instance, PFASs have been detected in the drinking water supplies. Elevated levels of PFAS have also been shown around airports and military bases in Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The number of such facilities polluting the environment with PFAS is estimated at more than 100,000 in Europe.

Consuming PFAS every day

Meanwhile, many people are voluntarily applying PFAS to their bodies every day in the form of cosmetics, as this new research indicates—also known as direct exposure. What’s particularly troublesome is this study found PFAS were not listed as an ingredient on any label,

which makes it impossible for consumers to avoid PFAS-containing cosmetics by reading labels.

That is because the chemicals are unregulated. “Lipstick wearers may inadvertently eat several pounds of lipstick in their lifetimes. Unlike food, chemicals in lipstick and other makeup and personal care products are almost entirely unregulated in the U.S. and Canada. As a result, millions of people are unknowingly wearing PFAS and other harmful chemicals on their faces and bodies daily – said Graham Peaslee, the senior author of the study and professor of physics. In some cases, PFAS are added intentionally. The chemical compounds can improve a product’s consistency, durability, texture and water resistance, and are often found in cosmetics that condition and smooth the skin, or make it appear shiny. They show up in dental floss, nail polish, lotion, cleanser, eyeshadow and eyeliner, shaving cream, foundation, mascara, lipstick, and more. But the new data suggest some products could be picking up PFAS inadvertently: “Detection of the substances could be due to contamination during manufacturing, leaching from storage containers, or companies using the fluorinated versions of product ingredients listed by their generic names.”


Regardless of how or why they’re entering cosmetics, people should not have to contend with PFAS in products they buy.

“PFAS are not necessary for makeup. I believe they should not be used in any personal care products,” said Arlene Blum, study co-author and executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute. “It’s past time to get the entire class of PFAS out of cosmetics and keep these harmful chemicals out of our bodies.” A Swedish study had been able to associate exposure of PFAS with miscarriage in the early pregnancy. PFAS are often referred to as “forever chemicals”, since they don’t degrade over time, and can be found in the bloodstream of almost every human being on the planet. PFAS cause severe medical conditions. “Perhaps the most worrying is the fact that these types of chemicals remain in the environment and humans even after they have been banned, because they are so extremely persistent and bioaccumulative”, says Carl-Gustaf Bornehag, professor and project manager for the SELMA study at Karlstad University and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, USA.

green and safe lifestylesGreen&Safe LIFE-styles project is supported by the LIFE programme of the European Union. Project number: ENV GIE HU000622. This content has been produced with the support of the Ministry of Innovation and Technology’s tender FV-I-20/C.

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